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Sunderland v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship

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Starting XI: We’re predicting FOUR changes to Sunderland’s team for tonight’s game vs Birmingham

Saturday was one of those ‘consign it to history as soon as possible’ games. So, who’ll line up tonight? Who’ll be fit?

Photo by Cardiff City FC/Getty Images

Tony Mowbray gambled big-style on Saturday – and by the way it wasn’t a gamble that many people were against at 3pm – but it didn’t work, At all. The midfield combination of Ba and Neil looked all at sea, Ellis Simms looked lost and defensively we were all over the place. We should have made changes at half time – probably before, truth be told, but we didn’t and that is a bit of a concern. Tony Mowbray hinted yesterday at a host of injuries, so it’ll be interesting to see who’s out and who makes the starting XI.

Goalkeeper: Anthony Patterson

The only player to emerge with credit from Saturday, Patterson’s had a cracking season so far.

Sunderland v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship
Patterson got Wright and Batth out of jail early on
Photo by Cardiff City FC/Getty Images

Defence: Trai Hume, Bailey Wright, Danny Batth, Niall Huggins

Lynden Gooch was pictured back in training this week, but Mowbray’s been reluctant to throw players straight back in after injury so far and I’d be surprised if Trai Hume – who was unfortunate to be dropped after Burnley – didn’t start in place of the suspended O’Nien. Wright and Batth will probably keep their places, despite a poor showing last weekend. At left back it’s rumoured Cirkin’s one of the players out injured again, so Niall Huggins could make his first appearance in over a year...

Sunderland v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet Championship
Hume could come back into the team tonight
Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Midfield: Dan Neil, Elliot Embleton

I thought Ba deserved a start on Saturday, but Mowbray’s selection left him woefully exposed. He’ll come back out of the team tonight, and so should Dan Neil, who was also poor on Saturday – however, if Evans is one of those players who’s injured, Neil could get a reprieve. Regardless, I reckon Embleton, if fit, will start.

Sunderland v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship
Dan Neil’s form’s been patchy this season
Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Attacking midfield: Patrick Roberts, Alex Pritchard, Jack Clarke

Pritchard was another we sorely missed on Saturday, and he’ll surely come back into the team tonight, with Roberts and Clarke either side.

Huddersfield Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
Hopefully Pritchard is fit
Photo by John Early/Getty Images

Striker: Amad

Ellis Simms turned in the type of performance you might have expected of a striker who’s barely played for two months on Saturday, and will probably drop back to the bench today (unless he’s another who’s injured) as Amad retains his place. Who plays furthest forward is anyone’s guess – we’ve seen Embleton, Pritchard, Amad and Clarke start through the middle so take your pick.

Sunderland v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship
Amad could start again
Photo by Cardiff City FC/Getty Images


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