I was surprised by our lineup on Sunday – I thought for certain that Tony Mowbray would make a change or two for the game against Cardiff. Should he have? It’s easy to say yes in hindsight, but certainly one or two of the performances suggested it wouldn’t have been the worst idea.
Anyway, as Roy Keane was fond of saying, we move on, and have what I expect to be a tough game at Hillsborough tonight.
Some of the subs from Sunday got a good run out in the under-21s on Monday night – will they have done enough to earn a start tonight?
Goalkeeper: Anthony Patterson
Patterson clearly picked an injury up against Cardiff, and it was noticeable Nathan Bishop wasn’t in goal for the under 21s. Hopefully Patterson will recover and take his place today – of not we’ll see Bishop make his Sunderland league debut.
Defenders: Trai Hume, Luke O’Nien, Dan Ballard, Niall Huggins
I thought Trai Hume was one who looked tired last weekend, and Niall Huggins has played a lot of football in the past 14 days for someone who’s spent so long on the sidelines. Will we see any changes? Unless Timothee Dembele is fit, I don’t think so. I can’t see Mowbray choosing to break up the O’Nien and Ballard partnership, and with Dennis Cirkin sidelined it seems Huggins will be needed, too. Unchanged in defence, I think.
Midfield: Dan Neil, Jobe Bellingham
I was hoping Pierre Ekwah is fit for tonight’s game – we’ve missed him in the centre of midfield. His initial prognosis was ten days, but the word is he won’t be ready. If that’s the case, it’ll be Neil and Bellingham in the centre again.
Attack: Abdoullah Ba, Adil Aouchiche, Nazariy Rusyn, Jack Clarke
This is where it gets interesting for me. While in defence and midfield our options are scarce, in attack we’ve got a load of choices to make. For me, Burstow’s not shown enough to warrant his place, and Aouchiche and Rusyn impressed for the under-21s in midweek. I’d thrown them both in. Jack Clarke plays when fit, while on the right-hand side Ba’s done enough to keep his place I reckon – Mowbray likes Ba’s legs away from home, and he can stretch the game for us.