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Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland: Emirates FA Cup Third Round

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Starting XI: Who’ll line up for Sunderland against Swansea today? We’re predicting 5 changes!

After a last-ditch win at Shrewsbury, the lads are back in league action – and we’re predicting five changes to Tony Mowbray’s team...

Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

While no one who was given a chance last week let themselves down in the slightest, there wasn’t a performance that simply can’t be ignored for today’s game against Swansea.

With Danny Batth and Lynden Gooch available again, there’s a few more defensive options for Mowbray to consider... here’s how we think we might line up today.

Goalkeeper: Anthony Patterson

I actually thought Bass did okay last week, given his lack of first-team action, but the newly-crowned North East Young Player of the Year Patto will be back between the sticks today.

Sunderland v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Defenders: Dan Ballard, Danny Batth, Luke O’Nien

It’s hard to pin down our formation at the back sometimes as it’s so fluid – we seem to change shape when we have the ball and when we don’t, and with Cirkin and Alese still sidelined I think we’ll go with that fluid back line again.

O’Nien fills that left back/left side of central defence slot really well, while Ballard’s return has been critically important in our return to form. In the middle, Danny Batth’s fit again and surely he’ll come straight back in for Bailey Wright.

Hull City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
Batth’s been out for a month since pulling up in the first half at Hull
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Wing backs: Trai Hume, Jack Clarke

I think Trai Hume’s been a revelation since coming back into the team, and he’ll surely continue in that right back/right wing back role.

On the other side, Clarke played well when he came off the bench last weekend and should be straight back into the team. AND on corners!

Sunderland v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship
More of the same from set pieces, please!
Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Midfield: Corry Evans, Dan Neil

Another player who’s been exceptional in recent weeks is Dan Neil.

I don’t know what it is really. Assuming more responsibility in Evans’ absence? A slight chance in role? Whatever it is, it’s worked!

That said, I expect Corry Evans to come back into the team today – probably at the expense of Michut, who’s started the last three games and, while he’s done okay, hasn’t made himself undroppable by any stretch.

Neil could get a rest today, having played so much football recently; that wouldn’t surprise me. But all things considered, I’m guessing we’ll see him reunited with the fit again skipper this afternoon.

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland: Emirates FA Cup Third Round
Dan Neil’s been in excellent form over recent weeks
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Attacking midfield: Amad, Abdoullah Ba

Amad simply plays when he’s fit, and while Patrick Roberts would consider himself unlucky to miss out of the starting XI today I think we could see Abdoullah Ba in that more advanced role.

Ba has really come into his own in recent weeks – he carries the ball forward at pace and is a beautiful footballer; I hope he retains his place in the team.

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland: Emirates FA Cup Third Round
Abdoullah Ba certainly looks some player
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Striker: Ross Stewart

Last week turned out perfectly for Stewart – he didn’t play the full game but got a runout and a goal, so he’ll be fit and raring to go this afternoon.

Blackpool v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

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