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Crewe Alexandra v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One

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

Sunderland are looking to keep their cup run going despite likely making a large number of changes for tonight’s trip to Loftus Road. We have a go at guessing the starting XI – what do you reckon?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Despite a poor result at the weekend, a slight bright spark was the return of a number of players from injury and tonight’s cup game could provide another opportunity for Lee Johnson to bring the likes of Lynden Gooch, Leon Dajaku and Denver Hume back into the first-team fold.

The return of senior players from injury means that, although I am expecting Johnson to make a number of changes from Saturday’s starting lineup, it should still be a fairly strong side that will take on higher-level opposition down in the capital this evening.

Here’s how I think the Lads will line up.

GK: Burge

With Thorben Hoffmann the unassailable first choice, Lee Burge will continue to find his best chance of game time in these cup competitions.

The former Coventry ‘keeper probably won’t be altogether happy with this arrangement, but Hoffmann has shown already why he is a cut above at this level and Burge is simply here to cover for any injuries that the Bayern Munich loanee may suffer.

Sunderland v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

RB: Younger CB: Wright CB: Alves LB: Hume

Just like in goal, I’m also expecting Sunderland to switch things up in defence for tonight’s match.

Carl Winchester has played a lot of football this season, and with Niall Huggins out with injury, there’s no need to risk him for tonight’s cup game. I think Ollie Younger will replace him on the right side of the defence.

In the middle, Bailey Wright and Freddie Alves have been the most used pair in the cup games so far this season and tonight should be no exception, whilst Denver Hume should continue his return to fitness with a first-team start tonight.

Sunderland v Manchester United U21 - Papa John’s Trophy Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

RM: Gooch CM: Evans CM: Sohna LM: Dajaku

Two of the players most likely to grab a start off the back of a good performance tonight are Lynden Gooch and Leon Dajaku.

The two wingers came off the bench at the weekend, and although we’re likely to see one or the other start on Saturday there is certainly an opportunity for both to take the places of the attacking midfielders who failed to create enough against Charlton at the Stadium of Light.

Similarly, Luke O’Nien’s performance in possession against the Addicks has led many to believe that Corry Evans should be given a start alongside Dan Neil for the upcoming league games. He could be given a run-out tonight alongside youngster Harrison Sohna.

Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League 1 Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

ST: O’Brien ST: Harris

Finally, with Ross Stewart and Nathan Broadhead injured it is likely to be up to Will Harris to lead the line as our big Scottish striker is again protected this weekend.

Aiden O’Brien could also drop out, but with the return of other forward players for the next league game, I think Lee Johnson will go for his experienced former Millwall attacker over the likes of Wearne and Taylor.

Sunderland v Manchester United U21 - Papa John’s Trophy Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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