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Sunderland v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship

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Starting XI: One change predicted for Sunderland tonight against Huddersfield!

Tony Mowbray will surely freshen things up tonight... but who might come in? And who’ll miss out?

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Saturday was a game to forget from a result perspective, but I thought we played well for large parts of it – however, we didn’t have a cutting edge and they did. With a few minutes of the game left, they’d had four shots on goal, two on target and two goals. We had 24 shots, and just five on target, without netting. It doesn't take a genius to work out where the room for improvement is.

Our defence is solid – we’ve got the fifth-best goals against in the league (19) - and four of them were in that Boro game. In attack, nine teams have scored more, but that’s mainly due to yesterday’s fixtures. If we get two tonight we’ll be the equal fourth-highest scorers. Which, given no striker has scored for us yet this season, is pretty good going.

So, I don’t think there’s that much wrong that a tweak or two here and there won’t solve, so I’m not expecting wholesale changes tonight.


Goalkeeper: Anthony Patterson

I don’t think Patterson could have done much about Plymouth’s goals last Saturday. Regardless, he’ll keep his place.

Leicester City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

Defenders: Niall Huggins, Luke O’Nien, Dan Ballard, Trai Hume

I’d expect the same again in defence, despite conceding two at the weekend. Only four teams in the division have conceded fewer than us this season, so despite O’Nien coming in for some (albeit predictable) criticism for the second Plymouth goal, there’s no need to change what has so far been a pretty solid defensive unit.

Plymouth Argyle v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Midfield: Dan Neil, Jobe Bellingham

I think we need to take Ekwah out of the team and figure out what’s going on there. He’s been a shadow of his former self since coming back from injury, so I reckon Jobe (not Jude) will drop back alongside Dan Neil tonight as we look for a bit more balance.

Plymouth Argyle v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Attack: Patrick Roberts, Adil Aouchiche, Jack Clarke

Aouchiche has got to start, simple as that, and Clarke’s a certainly. On the other flank, I think Patrick Roberts’ place is under serious threat, and Abdoullah Ba could easily get the nod ahead of him tonight. However, I think Roberts will keep his place – for now. He needs to start creating and scoring more, as he’s not been in the same form for much of this season as he was for last.

Sunderland v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Striker: Nazariy Rusyn

Another one where I think he’ll stick with the player in possession, hoping this will be a game in which form will come. Rusyn wasn’t great on Saturday, but I thought it was harsh of Mowbray to single him out (he’s doing this a lot with Hemir, too). Hopefully, he’ll get a goal tonight to kickstart him a bit.

Sunderland v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

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