Tuesday’s game at Hull ended in a much-needed victory for Sunderland.
Although it wasn’t the most convincing of performances, it was certainly one of those in which the result mattered more and I think it’ll provide a template to work from tonight.
Bradley Dack was the surprise inclusion on Humberside and his early departure is likely to see his replacement, Adil Aouchiche, take his starting berth.
Other than that, I don’t foresee any changes.
Goalkeeper: Anthony Patterson
Tuesday’s clean sheet will have been just what Patterson needed, and he had to work for it, too.
Defenders: Jenson Seelt, Luke O’Nien, Dan Ballard, Trai Hume
I had hoped Seelt would start centrally with O’Nien in at right back to replace Huggins, but it was Seelt who played at full back on Tuesday and did well.
I don’t think he’s the long term answer there and with Timothée Pembélé, Dennis Cirkin and Aji Alese all on the verge of first team action, it’ll be Hume plus one of them sooner rather than later, but Seelt is a first team regular in waiting and it’s good to see him getting some game time.
Midfield: Patrick Roberts, Dan Neil, Pierre Ekwah, Jobe Bellingham, Jack Clarke
Ekwah came back into a bit of form on Tuesday and although Neil and Jobe could probably do with a rest, we just don’t have the players to do that, and the only real option is Alex Pritchard replacing Jobe, which might happen.
Roberts and Clarke will be on the wings, and hopefully we’re not relying solely on our left winger to make things happen.
Attack: Adil Aouchiche
I still can’t fathom why we’re not playing one of the strikers, but in the interests of getting this as close to what Beale will do, I’ll put Aouchiche as our most attacking player.
I’d like to see Nazariy Rusyn given a run, but what do I know?!