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Starting XI: Is this the Sunderland side that will start against Oxford United?

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STARTING XI: Is this the Sunderland team that will take on Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium this afternoon?

Sunderland v Hull City - Carabao Cup First Round Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

GK: Lee Burge

After being given the nod by Phil Parkinson to fill the Jon McLaughlin-sized hole in Sunderland's goal, Lee Burge will not have planned on giving away a penalty just two minutes into the opening game of the League One season.

Of course Burge will start again on Saturday, but he'll be looking to make up for his mistake last Saturday with a clean sheet today.

Sunderland v Bristol Rovers - Sky Bet League One - Stadium of Light Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

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

Although Sunderland did concede last weekend, with the goal coming from the penalty spot, Phil Parkinson's side remain yet to concede from open play this season.

This, coupled with Parkinson's status as an inverse of the tinkerman Claudio Ranieri, makes it likely that he will stick with the back five that has been his preferred choice since February. Arby Xhemajli will have to wait to make his debut, and with a lack of depth beyond the Kosovan it is difficult to see this back five changing much through the season.


CM: Leadbitter CM: Power

One position in which Sunderland will not be the same as last weekend is the middle of the park, where George Dobson's stoppage time dismissal means he's suspended for the trip to an Oxfordshire retail park.

While most Sunderland fans will be calling for Josh Scowen to come into the side, Parkinson mentioned in midweek that he sees Scowen as competition with Maguire for one of the attacking midfield roles, meaning Leadbitter is the prime candidate to make his first league appearance since the middle of last season.

Sunderland v Leicester City U21: Leasing.com Cup Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

AM: Chris Maguire

One player who is certain to start is last week's goalscorer Chris Maguire. Sunderland's talisman was pretty poor last weekend, as were most of Sunderland's forwards, but he came up with the goods when it mattered once again, and he's sure to be fired up for a game against one of his former clubs.


ST: Grigg ST: O’Brien

Up front, Phil Parkinson has a number of different options should he wish to change his front pairing. Danny Graham and Charlie Wyke both came off the bench last Saturday, as did Lynden Gooch who could get a start if Sunderland revert to the 3-4-2-1 formation they used last season. However, as I have already mentioned, Parkinson is a loyal manager, and I suspect Will Grigg and Aiden O'Brien will be given a second chance to prove that they can combine upfront to give Sunderland the goals needed to win promotion.

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