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Sunderland v Blackpool - Sky Bet Championship

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Starting XI: Same again for Sunderland at Swansea, or should Tony ring the changes?

Tony Mowbray brought Amad into the side on Tuesday, but will he make any chances for this afternoon’s game at Swansea?

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

While we played a lot of nice football in the first half on Tuesday, we just couldn’t make a breakthrough and ended up maybe being fortunate to come away with a point.

Blackpool – and Preston – both set up to frustrate but Swansea won’t do that, and we may see a more open game.

In terms of team selection, Mowbray brought Amad in for Dan Neil on Tuesday, leaving Elliot Embleton in the starting XI – however, Embleton struggled to make an impact and I think he could well miss out today.

Here’s how I’d line up this afternoon.


Goalkeeper: Anthony Patterson

Patterson’s rightly got a fair amount of praise for a few excellent saves on over the last couple of games – I’d still like to see him be a bit more decisive on crosses, but he’s developing superbly and two clean sheets won’t do his confidence any harm.

Sunderland v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
Looking the part!
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Defence: Lynden Gooch, Luke O’Nien, Danny Batth, Aje Alese

A big question this afternoon is whether we revert to a three or stick to a four at the back – after two clean sheets it might seem a strange question, but with Swansea playing wingback we may well choose to go with an extra man in the middle.

Regardless, this lineup gives us the ability to do either – Alese can play as a full back or left sided centre back, and Clarke can drop a bit to play the wing back role.

Sunderland v Blackpool - Sky Bet Championship
O’Nien’s been in impressive form at the back this season.
Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Midfield: Corry Evans, Abdoullah Ba, Alex Pritchard

Embleton kept his place in midfield on Tuesday, dropping a bit deeper into a role that personally I like him in – however, he struggled to make much of an impact.

Corry Evans has been withdrawn early in the last two games – is that tactical or is he struggling with an injury? – however, if he’s fit he keeps his place.

I hope Ba gets a start today – I think he’s looked really good in his outings so far, and could add an extra dimension to our midfield.

Pritchard should keep his place, although he’s not been firing on all cylinders recently and may be looking over his shoulder.

Sunderland v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
Will Ba get his first start?
Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Attackers: Patrick Roberts, Amad, Jack Clarke

Amad had a bit of a difficult night on Tuesday – but while playing in an unfamiliar position, he showed some nice touches and will likely start again today.

Roberts and Clarke will provide support.

I am puzzled, however, at the lack of consideration young striker Max Thompson’s getting.

Mowbray says he’s not ready for the first team yet, but he’s a striker who’s been scoring goals in the under 21s, and we’re putting in Amad – who’s the same age as Thompson – clearly out of position, instead.

Doesn’t quite add up to me.

Sunderland v Blackpool - Sky Bet Championship
Amad will likely start again today
Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

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