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Middlesbrough v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Starting XI: Is this the Sunderland team that will take on Plymouth Argyle today?

We can probably all pick one definite change...

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

In patches, we played OK at the Riverside. In other patches, we were pretty poor. But we got a point, thanks to the introduction of Naziry Rusyn. Patrick Roberts also came off the bench to good effect, while Hemir, Aouchiche and Mundle all did well for the ‘B’ team in midweek. So, who’ll be in the team today come 3pm? Here’s how we think the lads could line up.


Goalkeeper: Anthony Patterson

Same again in goal today – there wasn’t much Patto could do with Boro’s goal at the weekend. He did get lucky with a ridiculous touch that could easily have cost us a goal, though.

Middlesbrough v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Defenders: Trai Hume, Luke O’Nien, Dan Ballard, Leo Hjelde

The selection of Leo Hjelde at the RIverside was a brave one by Michael Beale. Not only had Hjelde just walked in the door, but Jenson Seelt had done well out of position. However, it was a great call as Hjelde slotted in smoothly and impressed. Ballard looked in a lot of trouble at the end of the game, but seems to have come through unscathed, so we should be unchanged in defence.

Middlesbrough v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Martin Swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Midfield: Pierre Ekwah, Dan Neil, Abdoullah Ba

Midfield is a bit of a problem for us – Jobe and Ekwah have looked off the pace for a while now, but we seem reluctant to switch it up. I think that will change today. I’d love to see Chris Rigg get a start in the midfield position Jobe has been playing recently, but I think we’ll see Ba moved into a more central role today.

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

Attack: Patrick Roberts, Naz Rusyn, Jack Clarke

Rusyn was impressive when he came on against Boro, although the fact he broke sweat made him impressive compared to the lad he replaced. He’s got to start. Clarke’s a certainty, while on the other flank I think Patrick Roberts will come in to start the game.

Middlesbrough v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

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