Sunderland return to the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon as they take on Cardiff City in the Championship.
Tony Mowbray’s side got back to winning ways in midweek as they earned an impressive 2-0 victory at Huddersfield, and the former Blackburn Rovers manager will want to continue that momentum against the Bluebirds this weekend, in what is the Wearsiders’ final home game before the World Cup break.
Three points could see the Black Cats move into the top 10, whereas a defeat could see them slip closer towards the relegation zone, in what is a tightly-contested division.
Similarly, it would be strange to see Mowbray deviate from the defence which won Sunderland the game on Wednesday, so Luke O’Nien, Bailey Wright, Danny Batth and Dennis Cirkin should all start.
Despite scoring the opening goal in midweek, Alex Pritchard could drop out of the side in favour of Jack Clarke, who is available again after suspension, with the 21-year-old the second-best performer in Mowbray’s side this season according to WhoScored.
The Black Cats can afford to be more adventurous at home, so Corry Evans drops out of the side in favour of the more attack-minded Dan Neil. The “young Paul Gascoigne” partners Elliot Embleton in the middle of the park, with Patrick Roberts keeping his place on the flank.
Finally, in attack, Ellis Simms gets the nod to start up front alongside Amad Diallo, after the two combined for Sunderland’s second goal in midweek, with Leon Dajaku dropping out following a tepid display on Wednesday which saw him dubbed the team’s lowest-rated performer by Sofascore.