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

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Who do you reckon will make Phil Parkinson’s starting eleven when Sunderland take on Ipswich bat the Stadium of Light?

Gillingham v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

GK: Burge

After two games without a clean sheet Lee Burge was instrumental in Sunderland's return to winning ways at Gillingham.

His penalty save at 0-0 was followed up by a sending off for the home side, and both incidents were required before Sunderland could grab a couple of late goals to take all three points.

Hopefully there's another clean sheet waiting for him tonight.

Gillingham v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

CB: Willis CB: Wright CB: McLaughlin RWB: O’Nien LWB: Hume

After Jordan Willis was unavailable for Saturday’s game, Sunderland’s chances of keeping a clean sheet decreased significantly.

However, Conor McLaughlin has looked good in the back three and it was his fellow Northern Ireland international who looked like the man playing out of position at Priestfield.

For that reason, I’m backing Willis to return to the side in place of Flanagan, with McLaughlin switching over to the left side of defence.

At wing back, Luke O’Nien looked much more comfortable on the right side compared to centre back, and his disallowed goal shows just how much he contributes as a goal threat when playing in this position.

On the left, Denver Hume’s form has dipped slightly since his good start to the season, but he remains a great outlet down that side and as we saw last season with the ghost of Declan John its unlikely he will be dropped unless its due to injury or suspension.


DM: Leadbitter CM: Gooch CM: Scowen

A return to the midfield that started the game against Charlton a couple of weeks ago proved to be successful as the trio of one deep-lying playmaker (Leadbitter), one box-to-box player (Scowen) and another slightly more attacking runner (Gooch) looked much more balanced than the trio of Scowen, Leadbitter and Power.

Josh Scowen especially looked to be a genuine goal threat, and if his finishing was better Sunderland could have been two goals ahead even before Gillingham’s penalty miss and sending off.

Lynden Gooch does still look like a square peg in a round hole in this position, and with Elliot Embleton returning to fitness he could be under pressure for his place in the coming weeks, but by grabbing the second goal of the game on Saturday he has certainly done enough to warrant selection this evening.

Gillingham v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

ST: Wyke ST: Maguire

Up front, Charlie Wyke is the clean first choice striker for Phil Parkinson, and the real question lies over whom to partner the former Bradford City number nine up top.

Chris Maguire lost his place on Saturday afternoon after a number of fairly anonymous performances, but after Aiden O’Brien was equally ineffective against Steve Evans’ side, I think Sunderland’s talisman will return to the side tonight.

Maguire is a player who will always frustrated, but he is also a player who responds well to being dropped from the starting eleven. He coolly slotted home his penalty on Saturday afternoon, and will be hoping to net again tonight to solidify his place in Phil Parkinson’s best eleven.