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Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Starting XI: Will we see any changes for today’s game against Cardiff?

Last season, Tony Mowbray rang the changes for our game at home to Cardiff. Will he do the same again?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

I thought we looked a bit leggy in the first 20 minutes or so at Blackburn, and ideally Tony Mowbray would likely make some changes for today’s game at home to Cardiff. However, he’ll probably have last season’s fixture at the back of his mind – one in which he made a few changes after two away games – including a midweek win at Huddersfield – only to come mightily unstuck.

I expect he’ll make one or two changes for this afternoon’s game – but nothing too out of the ordinary. Here’s how we might line up...

Goalkeeper: Anthony Patterson

Patterson’s been good so far this season, and will be hoping to celebrate his new contract with a clean sheet today.

Sunderland v Crewe Alexandra - Carabao Cup First Round Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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

Niall Huggins came into the side for the past two games and has done pretty well – he seemed to get stronger as the game went on in midweek and could keep his place today. I am wondering whether we might go to a three to give him a rest today, but if we do that it could limit Clarke’s threat and I think we’ll do everything to ensure he’s on top form.

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Midfield: Dan Neil, Jobe Bellingham

Jobe dropped deeper when Ekwah went off, and formed an effective three with Neil and Pritchard, who was excellent and deserves a start. I think we’ll see a slight change in approach to accommodate Ekwah’s absence, with Neil acting as the pivot in midfield.

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Attack: Patrick Roberts, Adil Aouchiche, Alex Pritchard, Jack Clarke

Burstow and Ba started both away games and I reckon they’ll both come out of the line up today with Patrick Roberts and Adil Aouchiche coming in to give us some fresh legs. We all know what Roberts can deliver, and Aouchiche’s looked good in his cameos. Alex Pritchard has played himself back into contention and should keep his place today.

Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images


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