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Doncaster Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One

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Starting XI: Is this the Sunderland team that will line up against Sheff Wed tonight?

After an impressive win against Doncaster, Sunderland will surely face a sterner test tonight.

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Lee Johnson’s squad is pretty much running on fumes at present, and while we would have ideally preferred the Fleetwood game to go ahead, its cancellation could be beneficial given we’ve got so many players out through injury and now Covid-19. Here’s how we think the lads will line up for our final fixture of the calendar year.

Goalkeeper: Thorben Hoffmann

Hoffmann won’t have many quieter games than he experienced against Doncaster, and barring any last minute injuries or positive tests will line up in goal tonight.

Doncaster Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One - Keepmoat Stadium
Don’t hassle the Hoff!
Photo by Isaac Parkin/PA Images via Getty Images

Defence: Bailey Wright, Tom Flanagan, Callum Doyle, Lynden Gooch

Our exact formation is difficult to pin down at present – while some may have had Dajaku down as a right wing back against Doncaster, his average position showed he was our most advanced player during the whole game, while Wright and Gooch (who both had excellent games) held advanced full back positions. Anyway, I think we’ll be unchanged at the back, with Flanagan and Doyle retaining their places in the centre of defence.

Doncaster Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Gooch had another excellent game against Doncaster
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Midfield: Carl Winchester, Dan Neil

Carl Winchester missed out against Doncaster through a slight injury, and was replaced by team captain Corry Evans, who returned from injury to put in a solid display. Given Evans’ injury record, however, I would expect Johnson to err on the side of caution if at all possible, and two games in three or four days may be a bit too much to expect. Winchester has been superb all season – a contender for player of the season so far – and Johnson rated him as 50/50 for tonight’s game. If he’s fit I expect him to start.

Sunderland vs Ipswich Town Sky Bet League 1
Will Corry Evans retain his place, even if Winchester is fit?
Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Attack: Leon Dajaku, Alex Pritchard, Ross Stewart, Elliot Embleton

Leon Dajaku caused Doncaster all sorts of problems throughout the game – he won one penalty and should have had another in the second half. The other three attackers all got on the scoresheet and turned in equally impressive displays. Over the past month or so we’ve come to expect the sort of quality Pritchard is producing consistently now, while it was very pleasing to see Elliot Embleton turn in a quality display. After a strong start to the season he experienced a dip in form, and it was brilliant to see him both play well against Doncaster, and notched a lovely goal, too.

Doncaster Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
The fantastic four
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

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