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Sunderland: Alex Neil must axe Jack Clarke for Sheffield Wednesday clash

Sunderland managed to secure a 1-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday in the first leg of their semi-final play-off clash at the Stadium of Light last Friday evening.

Just before the halftime whistle blew, Black Cats striker Ross Stewart put his side ahead after taking the ball off Owls defender Sam Hutchinson and firing past Bailey Peacock-Farrell in goal.

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Despite taking a 1-0 win into tonight’s second-leg clash at Hillsborough, we believe that Alex Neil should consider making at least one change to his side to make sure they secure another victory.

On the chalkboard

The change in question would see winger Jack Clarke taken out of the team on this occasion after his underwhelming display on Friday.

Deployed in the left wing-back position, the 21-year-old got 89 minutes of action under his belt before being replaced by defender Callum Doyle.

In those 89 minutes, the Englishman only had 37 touches of the ball in total and completed just 16 of the 20 passes he attempted.

With only two of the five long ball passes and crosses he tried finding their intended targets, it’s safe to say that his passing was not as sharp as his manager would have wanted.

Should Jack Clarke start tonight?

Yes

Yes

No

No

From an attacking point of view, the 21-year-old failed to register even one clear shot at goal and made just one successful dribble out of three attempts.

Even though he’s been praised in the past for being “effortless” in his ability to “glide past players” by pundit Noel Whelan, the £25k-per-week attacker couldn’t show his full talent on this occasion.

In terms of his defensive output, Clarke lost six of the eight duels he was involved in and failed to make even one tackle or clearance for his side.

This performance ultimately earned the youngster an uninspiring overall match rating of 6.3/10, making him the lowest-rated Sunderland player that started the game according to SofaScore.

Chronicle Live also picked up on his rather lacklustre display by saying that he was “quiet” during the first half of the game.

Taking this into account and the importance of tonight’s game, it would be wise for Neil to not risk having Clarke be a passenger again and potentially cost his side the chance of being promoted.

In other news: Sunderland handed major injury boost ahead of SWFC, it could put them in the final

Article title: Sunderland: Alex Neil must axe Jack Clarke for Sheffield Wednesday clash

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