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Starting XI: Is this the Sunderland side that will take on Fleetwood Town tonight?

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Who do you reckon will make Phil Parkinson’s starting eleven when Sunderland look to end a run of four games without a win against Fleetwood tonight? Philip Butler predicts there’ll be one change to the line up from Saturday’s Doncaster draw.

Doncaster Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

GK: Matthews

After losing his place to a supposed minor ankle injury for the visit of MK Dons a fortnight ago, Lee Burge again found himself on the bench at the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday.

With this in mind, it seems unlikely that Phil Parkinson will drop a goalkeeper who he worked with at Bolton until he gives him reason to do so.

While Burge may feel a little unlucky to have lost his place in the side, it looks like he will be spending another few games on the bench.


CB: McLaughlin CB: Wright CB: Flanagan RWB: O'Nien LWB: Hume

Luke O’Nien overcame his injury doubt to start last weekend, and with Jordan Willis remaining unavailable alongside long-term absentees Arbenit Xhemajli and Morgan Feeney Sunderland are likely to name an unchanged back five for the first time in a while.

Conor McLaughlin has actually looked rather good in the games he has played on the side of a back three, and he has a few more games to prove that he should retain his place even when Jordan Willis returns to the side.

Sunderland v Mansfield Town: Emirates FA Cup First Round Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

CM: Scowen CM: Leadbitter CM: Embleton

With Lynden Gooch ruled out through injury – something which Phil Parkinson watched the American hobble around on for 20 minutes on Saturday afternoon – a change is certain to come in midfield this evening.

The use of Josh Scowen in a deeper role against Doncaster Rovers came as something of a surprise since Parkinson has previously stated the former QPR man was a replacement for Chris Maguire. However, this does make it more likely than an attacking player such as Elliot Embleton will come in to take Gooch’s place in midfield.

Let’s hope Parkinson agrees instead of the (dis)functional trio of Leadbitter, Scowen and Power.

Fleetwood Town v Sunderland - EFL Trophy Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

ST: Wyke ST: Maguire

Charlie Wyke man-marked Doncaster’s holding midfielder Ben Whiteman last Saturday as Phil Parkinson returned to the 3-4-3 formation that had almost all Sunderland fans calling for the striker to be dropped at the end of last season.

With Fleetwood not possessing a player of Whiteman’s quality – or relative importance to his side – I’m predicting that Parky reverts to a 3-5-2 formation with Wyke playing further up the pitch in the role that saw him enjoy a reasonable spell of goalscoring a few games ago.

Alongside him, Chris Maguire started at Donny, and despite failing to inspire this season I think he will be given the nod in an attack that is already without Lynden Gooch due to his injury.