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Middlesbrough v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Starting XI: Will Ross Stewart come straight back in for tonight’s game against West Brom?

Our main man is available for selection once more – but will he walk straight back into the team?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

After more than three months on the sidelines, Ross Stewart is fit and once again available for selection. It’s remarkable, really, that Stewart’s only played in one of Tony Mowbray’s 15 games, and we’ve done brilliantly well to get 22 points from those games.

Ahead of our game tonight, there are injury doubts over Alex Pritchard and Luke O’Nien, so how will we line up? Last week, Tony Mowbray sprang a few selection surprises – will he do the same today?


Goalkeeper: Anthony Patterson

Patterson kept another clean sheet last weekend and is looking a very good Championship keeper.

Sunderland v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Defenders: Lynden Gooch, Luke O’Nien, Danny Batth, Aji Alese

Gooch and Alese were two surprise selections last weekend. and while we played an odd, lopsided back five in the first half we switched to a more traditional flat-four in the second, and that worked a lot better.

Dan Ballard’s playing for the under 21s tonight, while Luke O’Nien has been struggling with injury this week but Mowbray seems to think he’ll make it – and if that’s the case we could well see an unchanged defence tonight.

Sunderland v Millwall - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Midfield: Corry Evans, Dan Neil

Dan Neil had an ineffective game last week and his position must be under threat – I’d like to see Jay Matete get a run alongside Corry Evans, but I suspect Mowbray will keep faith with the academy graduate. Still, with Matete, Ba and Michout breathing down his neck, competition is strong.

Sunderland v Millwall - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Attacking midfield: Patrick Roberts, Amad, Jack Clarke

Alex Pritchard has been absent from training this week too, and as it’s a muscle injury I reckon he’ll be left on the sidelines tonight. That should open up a position for Patrick Roberts – and if it does it’s likely Amad will play more centrally.

Sunderland v Millwall - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Striker: Ellis Simms

Simms got another goal on Saturday and put in a good all-round display – and certainly doesn’t deserve to lose his place. I don’t think we’ll see Mowbray play two up top from the off too often (watch him pick both Simms and Stewart now I’ve said that!) and it’ll be smart to give Stewart 20 minutes from the bench.

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