Lee Johnson faces a big selection dilemma tonight, both in terms of formation and personnel. While on one hand the game maybe an unwanted distraction from the bread and butter of the league action, it offers the players the chance to impress both collectively and individually – and, as such, I think we’ll pretty much go full strength. Leon Dajaku will likely miss out through injury, while the fact we have an unnamed COVID case could see another first-choice player miss out.
Goalkeeper: Thorben Hoffmann
Hoffmann as firmly established himself as Sunderland’s number one, and tonight will be a different type of test for him as we’ll be under pressure for significant chunks of the game.
Defence: Lynden Gooch, Bailey Wright, Tom Flanagan, Callum Doyle, Denver Hume
Wright was superb on Saturday once more, and will likely line up in a defence that will welcome back Denver Hume, who impressed from the bench on Saturday. I suspect we’ll go with a back three/five with Gooch and Hume providing the width from wing back.
Midfield: Carl Winchester, Dan Neil
Dan Neil had a quiet first half against Ipswich but was superb in the second, and will be looking to continue that form tonight – it’s a huge opportunity for him to impress and I’m looking forward to seeing how he performs. Alongside him, Winchester will probably line up again, although Corry Evans may well come into Johnson’s thinking.
Attack: Alex Pritchard, Ross Stewart, Nathan Broadhead
After impressing in recent weeks, Pritchard struggled to get into the game on Saturday, but will likely stay in the team after his replacement, Embleton, did little to impress. Alongside him in attack will be Nathan Broadhead, who’s in superb form, and Ross Stewart, who is battling on despite looking as if he’s in need of a rest.