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Sunderland Unveil New Head Coach Michael Beale

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Starting XI: Who will Michael Beale name in his first Sunderland line up?

Will our new head coach make any changes for his first game in charge this afternoon?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images


Will Michael (or is it Mick?) Beale make any changes for his debut in the Stadium of Light’s home dugout this afternoon? Perhaps. He’s been on the training ground all week, and had the benefit of seeing some of the fringe players and those returning from injury get an outing on Monday night against Arsenal’s under 21s. While today’s game may come too soon for the likes of Pembele and Alese, one or two others may have forced their way into Beale’s thinking. Here’s what we think he might do this afternoon.


Goalkeeper: Anthony Patterson

Patterson will be in goal this afternoon, but his mistake on Saturday means he’ll be under a bit of scrutiny today.

Millwall v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dylan Hepworth/MB Media/Getty Images

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

I suspect it’ll be the same again in defence today – Beale seems to favour a back four, and he’ll probably give the incumbents a chance to prove themselves. Seelt is the most likely to put pressure on O’Nien, but I don’t foresee any defensive changes today.

Sunderland v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Midfield: Dan Neil, Jobe Bellingham

I can’t see Pritchard missing out today, and I think Beale will be keen to solve the striker issue straight away, which means it’s a straight fight out between Bellingham and Ekwah. I reckon Jobe will get the nod, alongside Dan Neil.

Sunderland v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Attack: Patrick Roberts, Alex Pritchard, Jack Clarke

Allegedly Beale doesn’t play with wingers, but with Clarke and Roberts key players he’ll be forced to rethink. Pritchard is likely to keep his place in the team today, and I’ll be stunned if we see anything else than Roberts and Clarke either side of him.

Millwall v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dylan Hepworth/MB Media/Getty Images

Striker: Naz Rusyn

Beale will be keen to solve the striker issue, and I think Rusyn looked the sharpest on Monday and will be given a game today. He looked bright before his injury, and seems the best bet through the middle at present.

Sunderland v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Robert Smith/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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