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Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Semi Final 2nd Leg

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Starting XI: Sheff Wed vs Sunderland – Will it be all change tonight at Hillsborough?

After a good result and display from the Lads on Saturday, will we see a much-changed Sunderland team tonight in front of the Sky Sports cameras?

Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

While we clearly need strengthening in a number of positions, it’s interesting tonight that we can put out a completely different starting XI to the one that played on Saturday and it still looks pretty decent.

There are a few players who will feel a bit unfortunate not to have seen more action this season so far, and will want to turn in a good display to force their way into the manager’s thinking. So who’ll line up tonight? This is what we think could happen.

Goalkeeper: Alex Bass

Our new keeper Alex Bass is likely to make his debut tonight, and it’ll be a good test for him against Wednesday.

He needs a game, just in case, and it’ll be interesting to see how he does.

Sunderland Training Session
Ex-Portsmouth keeper Bass should make his Sunderland debut tonight
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images,

Defence: Trai Hume, Carl Winchester, Bailey Wright, Aje Alese

Trai Hume’s been unlucky not to be involved so far this season after a good summer but should get the chance to stake a claim for first-team action tonight.

Alongside him, I suspect we’ll see Winchester and Bailey Wright in defence and Aje Alese given 90 minutes, too.

We could well go with a back five, with Hume and Diamond as wing-backs, however, I have a feeling Alex Neil might want to give a back four a run-out.

Dundee United v Sunderland: Pre-Season Friendly
Will Alese get his first competitive start tonight?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Midfield: Patrick Roberts, Luke O’Nien, Elliot Embleton, Jay Matete, Jack Diamond

We’ve got a few options in midfield, and Patrick Roberts – another who’s been incredibly unlucky not to start a game so far this season, should be in from the start alongside Luke O’Nien and Jay Matete, who’ve both failed to make the starting XI so far.

After dropping to the bench on Saturday, I think Elliot Embleton will come back in while Jack Diamond should come into the team on the left side of midfield.

He’s been linked with a loan move to Portsmouth and, more recently, Fleetwood, but there’s still a good chance he can make an impression here this season.

Sunderland v Coventry City - Sky Bet Championship
Roberts’ cameo against Coventry has been his only appearance to date this season
Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Attackers: Leon Dajaku

There is an argument to make for Ellis Simms being given another start to build up his fitness, but I just wouldn’t risk him at all, so Leon Dajaku could get the nod up front tonight.

He’s got a lot of good attributes – I like him as a player, and he can finish – so it’s a good chance for him to force his way into Alex Neil’s thinking.

Sunderland v AS Roma - Pre-Season Friendly
Dajaku saw some action up front in pre season
Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images


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