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Sunderland v Reading - Sky Bet Championship

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Starting XI: Two changes to Sunderland’s team predicted as we take on Alex Neil’s Stoke!

Is this the team that’ll start today’s game?

Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

We’re back in action after a week’s break, and Alex Neil is back in town – which will certainly add a bit of spice to the occasion.

We need to get back to winning ways after a disappointing three games, and I think we might go for a bit of experience in the starting XI today.

Goalkeeper: Anthony Patterson

Patto will be looking for a clean sheet today after conceding five in his last three games.

Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Defenders: Trai Hume, Dan Ballard, Danny Batth, Aji Alese

This is our strongest defence at present, particularly with Cirkin’s injury problems.

Danny Batth will captain the team against his former club, and will be looking to help steer the lads back to winning ways.

Stoke City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
Danny Batth enjoyed our win in the Potteries earlier in the season
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Midfield: Luke O’Nien, Dan Neil

I think we’ve looked a bit lightweight in the centre of midfield in recent weeks, and I was surprised Luke O’Nien didn’t start the game last weekend.

Stoke will be aggressive and get stuck into us, and I think we’ll need Luke O’Nien’s presence in the centre of the park today, alongside Dan Neil – who will feel he has a point to prove to his former manager in the opposition dugout.

Sunderland v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship
Back in the team?
Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Attack: Patrick Roberts, Amad, Alex Pritchard, Jack Clarke

We’re not clicking up front with Gelhardt, who’s struggled to make an impression so far, and I wonder if Tony Mowbray will go with the experience of Alex Pritchard today in a four-man attack that will rotate whenever possible.

I think bringing Gelhardt off the bench against tiring legs when the game’s a bit more open could be the way to go – I reckon he’d benefit from watching some of the game from the sidelines, too.

Coventry City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
Will Pritchard start today?
Photo by Martin swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images


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