Just as a moment of positivity is finally injected into Sunderland, it gets torn straight back down.
Their 3-0 win over Wimbledon courtesy of a Charlie Wyke hat-trick was superb but the brightest point of Lee Johnson’s tenure has undoubtedly been a 4-0 rout of fellow promotion rivals Lincoln.
Yet, there is a colossal negative right now. That happens to be their run of form at the Stadium of Light. Johnson has yet to see his side win at home since he was given the job. Given they’re playing in the northeast again on Saturday, it doesn’t bode particularly well.
Though, what starting XI will Johnson prefer when the Mackems meet Shrewsbury at 3pm this afternoon?
Well, we’re tipping the former Bristol City manager to make as many as three changes to the side that were beaten by Plymouth last time out.
Jordan Willis went off through injury just after half an hour in midweek but despite being a massive doubt for when Shrewsbury come to town, Johnson claimed that he should be alright to play during his Friday press conference.
Despite that, we’re tipping Dion Sanderson to keep his place but to move to left-back. We’ve already expressed our concerns over the performances of Callum McFadzean so he drops out.
Coming in at right-back will be Max Power. The 27-year-old started as a substitute last time out but considering his vibrant performance versus Port Vale in defence, he has to come in.
We think that Sunderland’s forward line of Aiden McGeady, Wyke and Aiden O’Brien should stay the same. Wyke’s hat-trick last weekend and O’Brien’s goals in successive midweek games dictate that they have to make the starting XI.
Meanwhile, we anticipate Johnson to potentially make two changes in the middle of the park. That sees Grant Leadbitter come in for Carl Winchester. The latter made his first start for the Black Cats since signing from Forest Green when they lost to Plymouth but the 27-year-old is immediately axed while he gets up to speed.
The one remaining change to go through is Elliot Embleton stepping in for Jack Diamond. Like Power, the former impressed against Port Vale so deserves a run out in the league.