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Ipswich Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One

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Starting XI: Who will line up for Sunderland against Doncaster this afternoon?

The lads have had an extra day to digest their Christmas turkey… so who will be in the starting XI at the Eco-Power Stadium?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Nathan Broadhead’s injury, picked up against Arsenal, is a major blow, and will force Lee Johnson into at least one change today - while Lee Burge will also likely step down after a somewhat surprising selection on Tuesday. Here’s how we think the lads will line up today.


Goalkeeper: Thorben Hoffmann

I was surprised by Burge’s selection against Arsenal, as it would have been a great learning experience for Hoffmann, but presumably, it was some sort of ‘gentleman’s agreement’ that last season’s first choice would be the cup keeper.

Regardless, the German will surely be back in action today.

Sunderland vs Ipswich Town Sky Bet League 1 Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Defence: Bailey Wright, Tom Flanagan, Callum Doyle, Denver Hume

Denver Hume had a poor outing last week at Arsenal, but given the opponent and his lack of action over recent months I wouldn’t be overly concerned.

If Cirkin is ready for a start we could see him line up from the off, but I suspect Hume will be given a starting berth as we revert to Johnson’s favoured back four.

Arsenal v Sunderland - Carabao Cup Quarter Final
Hume had a poor game against Arsenal
Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images

Midfield: Carl Winchester, Dan Neil

While Corry Evans is fit again and could come straight back into the team, our most effective midfield duo this season has been Winchester and Neil, and I hope they start here today. Winchester gives us composure and athleticism, while, as Neil showed in the second half against Ipswich, he’s more than capable of providing that vital moment of quality.

Elliot Embleton filled in centrally on Tuesday, but I don’t think he’s what we need in a two-man central midfield.

Arsenal v Sunderland - Carabao Cup Quarter Final
will Winchester line up in the centre today?
Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images

Attack: Lynden Gooch, Alex Pritchard, Ross Stewart, Leon Dajaku

Nathan Broadhead’s injury was probably the worst possible outcome from Tuesday’s game, and in hindsight his selection will be a cause for regret for Lee Johnson.

Still, good news came in the form of Leon Dajaku’s injury, sustained at Ipswich, which isn’t as bad as first feared. I think the on loan Union Berlin player will come back into a more familiar attacking role as part of a front four spearheaded by Ross Stewart.

Alongside them, Alex Pritchard will be looking to continue on from his fine display at the Emirates, while Lynden Gooch will likely complete the quartet - although Embleton could retain his place in the team in a more familiar attacking position.

Sunderland v Plymouth Argyle - Sky Bet League One
Will Dajaku come straight back into the team?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images
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