Sunderland will be looking to maintain their place at the top of the League One table as they travel to face Portsmouth on Saturday.
Danny Cowley’s team are 12th in the table and 10 points behind the Wearsiders, having gone eight games without a win in all competitions. The Black Cats, meanwhile, are on an eight-match unbeaten run and attempting to make it nine at Fratton Park, winning their last match 5-0 against Cheltenham.
Lee Johnson may look to freshen his XI up to take on Portsmouth and one player he must unleash today is German winger Leon Dajaku.
The summer signing from Union Berlin is yet to make a start for Sunderland in League One and this match could be a great opportunity for him to be thrown in. Johnson must give him the chance to show what he can do from the start by dropping Aiden O’Brien and starting Dajaku out wide against Pompey.
Earlier this summer, the manager lauded the 20-year-old’s potential and outlined the qualities he has in his locker.
He said: “Leon is a really interesting player – he’s a top prospect with good ability, agility and quality – so we are looking forward to adding him to the squad and working with him. He’s a hungry player that has shown a strong attitude and desire to come to Sunderland and grow with us, which is exactly what we want.”
Dajaku displayed some of his quality off the bench in the rout against Cheltenham. As per SofaScore, in 29 minutes on the pitch, he scored one goal, created one chance and had 23 touches of the ball. O’Brien, on the other hand, played 90 minutes and failed to register a goal or assist, with one key pass and 50 touches.
The former Bayern Munich man has previously proven his ability at a similar level. In the third tier of German football, Dajaku managed seven goals and five assists in 43 games. This shows that he has the potential to be a game-changer for Johnson’s side, with his strike against Cheltenham giving a glimpse into what he is capable of producing.
Therefore, Johnson should axe O’Brien from the XI in order to start Dajaku out wide against Pompey. The German could add a goal threat from out wide whilst also being able to create chances, and there would be the added motivation to perform as it would be his full League One debut.
The dynamo could then secure his place in the team on a regular basis if he is able to put in an impressive display and then maintain consistency throughout the rest of the season.