Football is finally back for Sunderland. It’s been a long few weeks without it but Lee Johnson’s men will finally get a chance to show what they’re made of on Saturday.
The Mackems have had four games postponed because of Covid reasons but after the Academy of Light reopened its doors towards the end of December, everything is now getting back to normal.
Keith Curle and Northampton Town is who stands in the way of three points today but fortunately, Johnson will have a larger pool of players to pick from than he did against Wimbledon.
The Black Cats will be without Luke O’Nien and Denver Hume through injury while Josh Scowen is still out. There was a positive update on his fitness this week, however, after it was revealed that he didn’t actually fracture his shin. As a result, he should be back in a few weeks rather than a few months.
Although that trio are unavailable, we’re still tipping Johnson to make three changes to his starting XI on Saturday. Here’s what we’re predicting.
The first change to note is in midfield where George Dobson is immediately axed from the side.
He’s barely played this season and after his performance last time out, it’s hardly surprising. The 23-year-old was torn apart by supporters and consequently, Max Power reclaims his spot.
The other two changes come in an attacking sense. Will Grigg extended his goalless run against Wimbledon and is still yet to score this season. Consequently, Charlie Wyke is back in the side.
He’s already netted ten times this term but has only started once under Johnson. A final change is on the left-hand side where Aiden O’Brien drops out in favour of Lynden Gooch.
The £5k-per-week American returned from injury when Sunderland last played with a second-half cameo and should feature ahead of both O’Brien and Aiden McGeady.
Tom Flanagan may be fit again but we suggest that Dion Sanderson keeps his place at centre-half next to Bailey Wright.