Sunderland beat Ipswich 1-0 last weekend but the games continue to come thick and fast as their chances of promotion become stronger.
The Black Cats head into Tuesday’s encounter against Rochdale with just one defeat from their last 11 matches – something that represents a phenomenal turnaround from winning only two of Phil Parkinson’s opening 14 games in charge.
Aiden McGeady has been banished to Charlton while new faces have come through the door to refresh the squad.
However, besides Bailey Wright, we’re yet to really see any of them feature on a prominent basis.
With that in mind, we think Parkinson should favour a change at the Stadium of Light in midweek. Here’s the XI we think he should go with.
The core of the side that beat the Tractor Boys just a few days ago remains with Wright and Jordan Willis featuring in the team.
In keeping a clean-sheet, it seems only fair that Tom Flanagan keeps his place in the side. Parkinson confirmed at the weekend that Joel Lynch is currently going through concussion protocol but assistant manager Steve Parkin suggested the defender’s rib still wasn’t right on Monday following an incident against Portsmouth.
Denver Hume retains his place ahead of Declan John who didn’t make the bench last Saturday while Luke O’Nien again features at right-wing back.
Josh Scowen has played just one minute for Sunderland since arriving from QPR in the January window and although some players deserve rest, George Dobson and Max Power remain in a central area.
The one switch is in the forward line. We reckon Kyle Lafferty deserves a chance to start for the first time after building up his match fitness over the last couple of weeks.
Although Charlie Wyke is a pivotal part of the Sunderland machine, he was disappointing against Ipswich, failing to win an aerial duel and having a solitary attempt at goal. The 27-year-old, meanwhile, has only scored two in his last ten.