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Plymouth Argyle v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Could changes in personnel help to ignite Sunderland’s misfiring strikers?

As we try and get our strikers into games and turn our chances into goals, could some changes in attacking midfield bring about a change in fortunes?

Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Joseph Tulip says…

I’m a huge fan of Alex Pritchard and would have no problems if Tony Mowbray decided to bring him back into the fold against his former club.

Pritchard is a natural number ten and when he’s on song, he’s the ideal player to link up our midfield and attack, and to get our key men firing.

My instinct would be to give Jobe Bellingham a well-earned rest and and see what a refreshed Pritchard can offer. His departure from Huddersfield wasn’t on the best of terms and he’ll surely have fire in his belly to put one over his former employers.

While I understand the growing frustration surrounding Patrick Roberts’ lack of form and final product, I think he’s still full of confidence on the ball and when taking on defenders.

Just like Jack Clarke, Roberts can tear Championship defences apart and perhaps the opportunity to link up with the experienced Pritchard once again might just give him the edge when it comes to decision making in the final third.

In short, I’d stick with Roberts but if things aren’t going his way after sixty minutes, Adil Aouchiche is a great option from the bench.

I’d also stick with Nazariy Rusyn up front.

There’s no point in constantly rotating our strikers and Rusyn deserves at least a few more games to get off the mark.

I’m not worried about our attacking pedigree because we always create enough chances and I think if we can get back to basics defensively, we’ll have enough about us to find a goal or two on Wednesday night.

Stoke City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Jess Hornby/Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says…

I’d be tempted to give Adil Aouchiche more time on the pitch on Wednesday night, and maybe even to give him a start.

His interplay with the players around him was cracking on Saturday and was one of the few positives from a poor day at the office for the Lads.

He offers good passing and movement in the final third, and he’s also a decent goal threat, being unlucky not to bag again at Home Park.

On who I’d drop, I’d rather class it as rotation, but my choice would probably be Patrick Roberts.

He’s been a bit off the boil for a bit and maybe he needs a rest to reignite his hunger and to push him back to his very best. He’s a better player than he’s showing right now and he knows that, so let’s try a few other options and I’m sure he’ll bounce back.

Tom Albrighton says…

For me, the changes need to be rung, not only for the benefit of our strikers but also the team as a whole.

In recent weeks, Tony Mowbray’s attachment to the 4-1-4-1 formation has either been feast or famine stuff, and despite it leading to a high number of chances, the quality of said chances is relatively low.

A switch back to a 4-2-3-1-style system would provide Mowbray with more options whilst arguably suiting more players, as well as providing a better balance between attack and defence.

In addition to this, Patrick Roberts has become Sunderland’s very own white elephant.

Although his new contract will have doubtless propelled him to the top of the wages tree, he isn’t doing nearly enough to warrant the outlay. Whilst our strikers are struggling and still yet to find their feet, other players need to be contributing in meaningful ways and although Roberts may be aesthetically pleasing, his statistics are not.

As an aside, his continued selection is also preventing Abdoullah Ba from getting a deserved run in the side, a player who also boasts better returns in both goals and assists.

Another Mowbray favourite who’s yet to recapture last season’s form is Luke O’Nien.

His work on the ball hasn’t been as good as it can be and he’s been somewhat suspect defensively, something that was highlighted by some naive work in the build up to Plymouth’s second goal.

Jenson Seelt hasn’t done much wrong but we must be nearing the point where it’s viable to at least discuss dropping one for the other. There’s no point having competition for places if favourites can occupy positions regardless of form, as highlighted by Roberts.

Finally, Pierre Ekwah has to be taken out of the the firing line and Adil Aouchiche must start.

He’s looked quality in his cameos so far this season and accompanied by a switch to 4-2-3-1 formation, whereby we can drop Jobe and Dan Neil deeper, Aouchiche may be the man to unlock one of our many fledgling strikers from an attacking midfield role.

All in all, Mowbray has a lot to ponder come Wednesday evening and in my opinion, if you can’t rotate a squad after Saturday’s performance when at home to Huddersfield, I’m not sure when he will.

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