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Sunderland: Mowbray must unleash Danny Batth vs Swansea

Sunderland return to action in the Championship this afternoon as they play host to Welsh side Swansea at the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats head into the game off the back of a 2-1 win over Shrewsbury in the third round of the FA Cup and should be aiming to make it back-to-back wins in all competitions.

Tony Mowbray’s team were held to a 1-1 draw by Blackpool in their last outing in the league and a win against the Swans could push them into the play-off places, as they currently sit one point adrift of the top six.

Should Danny Batth start?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Ahead of the match, Mowbray confirmed that experienced central defender Danny Batth is now back in training with the first-team after a spell on the sidelines.

He has not featured in a Championship match since the 1-1 draw with Hull on the 17th of December and the manager must finally bring the enforcer back into the starting XI now that the gem is fit and available.

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Journalist Josh Bunting recently hinted that the Black Cats missed Batth’s ability to “dominate” the box from set-pieces, as they conceded from a dead-ball situation in the 2-1 win over Shrewsbury.

The reporter has described the 6 foot 3 man mountain as “colossal” on more than one occasion and his statistics back that up.

In the Championship this season, Batth has won a staggering 71% of his aerial battles against opposition players. The machine has won 3.9 headers and made 4.5 clearances per game, whilst also winning 55% of his ground duels, and this shows that he is immense in the air and rarely gets beaten by forwards.

Whereas, Wright – who has started in place of Batth at the heart of the defence – has only won 53% of his aerial duels and made 2.2 clearances per match.

This suggests that the Australian international is a significant downgrade on the ex-Stoke man in terms of what he offers in the air, from open play and set-pieces, for Sunderland.

Therefore, Mowbray must bring Batth, who started the first 23 matches of the campaign, back into the starting line-up so that he can dominate Swansea’s players in the box.

The Swansea have scored four more goals than the Black Cats from set-pieces this season and this indicates that they can cause a threat from balls into the area, which is why bringing the 32-year-back in could be key for Sunderland.