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Sunderland v Stoke City - Sky Bet Championship

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Starting XI: Two enforced changes to Sunderland’s team predicted for today’s lunchtime clash

Is the team that will be looking to make up for last week’s debacle?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

In isolation, last week’s game was one of the most abysmal performances I can ever remember a Sunderland team turning out, and I do think Tony Mowbray has to take a lot of responsibility for that.

His continual negativity and naive line up caused that result and while most people would make a few changes to the personnel and formation after that, I suspect we’ll go in with only a couple of changes – both enforced with the injury to Alese and the rumoured injury for Amad.

Goalkeeper: Anthony Patterson

Patterson was poor on Saturday – he should have been stronger in the build up to a couple of Stoke’s goals.

Sunderland v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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

Trai Hume needs a break, and Lynden Gooch could feasibly come in at right back, while at left back I suspect O’Nien will replace Alese. Joe Anderson should be given a game at left back, but Mowbray will likely go with O’Nien.

Sunderland v Stoke City - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Will Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

Midfield: Edouard Michut, Dan Neil

Our midfield was atrocious on Saturday, even in the second half when Michut came on, Dan Neil needs to be taken out of the team, but I think we’ll return to a Michut-Neil combination today. I’m not sold on Michut either – he has a nice touch but is on the periphery of the action a lot of the time, and it’d be great to see him really impose himself. I’d prefer a Michut-Ekwah-O’Nien midfield here, with O’Nien pushing up whenever possible, but that’s wishful thinking.

Sunderland v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Attack: Patrick Roberts, Alex Pritchard, Jack Clarke

Our attack has looked confused and has continually misfired since Gelhardt came into the side. I'd love to see one or two of Lihadji, Ba or Bennette get a chance from the off, but I doubt we will – we’ll continue with our regular players.

Luton Town v Norwich City - Pre-Season Friendly
Roberts spent some time with Norwich
Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Striker: Joe Gelhardt

He’s been poor for us so far, and was taken off at half time last week to protect his confidence, but it looks like Mowbray will continue with the Leeds loanee. I do hope we try something different, but Mowbray’s admission that he’s not prepared to even give our under 21 striker Harry Gardiner a chance in training makes me certain we’ll persevere with players who may be better served sitting a game or two out.

Sunderland v Stoke City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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