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Starting XI: Is this the Sunderland side that will take on Mansfield in the FA Cup?

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

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

GK: Remi Matthews

Just as Lee Burge is the clear first choice for Sunderland's league games, Remi Matthews is the designated cup goalkeeper.

Burge has made a solid start to the season - even if he is nothing more than a mediocre League One 'keeper - and Matthews will be looking to put the pressure in with a clean sheet this afternoon.


CB: McLaughlin CB: Wright CB: Sanderson RWB: Diamond LWB: McFadzean

Sunderland are looking rather short of defenders at the minute, especially since Phil Parkinson is likely to continue with five at the back for the foreseeable future.

This means that Bailey Wright is likely to remain even in a much changed team. Conor McLaughlin and Dion Sanderson have both made league appearances recently, and they will be looking to stake their claim for more league games with a good game in the cup today.

At wing back, Jack Diamond has been used in this position during preseason and in the Paps John’s Trophy even though he is naturally a winger.

On the left, Callum McFadzean is in line to make his debut and will be looking to put more pressure on Denver Hume’s starting birth than Declan John managed last season.

Northampton Town v Plymouth Argyle - Sky Bet League Two Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

CM: Power CM: Dobson

If Phil Parkinson gives Leadbitter a rest - and I think he should, given the team's reliance on the veteran midfielder to dictate the play - I would like to see Phil Parkinson change the shape of his midfield three.

Max Power is in his third season as a Sunderland player but I'm still unsure as to what his best role is in midfield. A player who started his first season as a box-to-box player ended it playing behind the striker, before playing most of last season in front of the back four.

With George Dobson likely to play - someone who is very much a defensive enforcer rather than a deep playmaker, I would prefer to return to the midfield two that ended last season.

This means Power and Dobson both sitting in front of the back four, with three attacking players ahead of them.


AM: Embleton

Unlike last season's two attacking players behind one striker, I would like to see Phil Parkinson play a genuine number ten behind his two forwards.

The man for this role in my opinion is Elliot Embleton, who has been rebuilding his fitness in the under 23s over the last couple of games.

Whilst I expect him to get no more than an hour, Dan Neil also played in this position in pre-season and has already shown his quality coming off the bench in the cup this season.

Sunderland Pre-Season Training Session Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

ST: Graham ST: O'Brien

As for the strikers, two of Danny Graham, Aiden O’Brien and Will Grigg are competing for the two spots - with the player left on the bench likely to get a run out in the second half.

Will Grigg is probably the one in the most need of game time due to his limited minutes since starting the first two games of the season. However, Grigg is also at the bottom of Phil Parkinson’s striking pecking order, so I’m predicting Graham and O’Brien to start, with the former Wigan striker looking to grab a goal off the bench.