Sunderland are back in action this evening as they head to League Two strugglers Oldham Athletic for the second round of the EFL Trophy.
Lee Johnson was only appointed on Saturday afternoon, and was thrown straight into the mire, though his presence in the dugout couldn’t inspire the Black Cats to a victory as Wigan Atheltic ended a ten-game winless run at the Stadium of Light.
Ahead of tonight’s fixture, the 39-year-old claimed he would use the encounter as an opportunity to implement his ideas, so there may not be too many alterations to the starting XI.
Although, there will be some changes in personnel as the likes of academy shot-stopper Anthony Patterson and Wolves loanee Dion Sanderson are set to be handed starts whilst Charlie Wyke is in line to feature.
The 20-year-old goalkeeper replaces Lee Burge between the sticks in the first change from Saturday’s defeat.
Central defensive pairing Bailey Wright and Tom Flanagan are set to keep their places, but Johnson will be forced into another change at left-back after Denver Hume was confirmed to be out for the rest of December.
We could see Callum McFadzean come in as the only alternative whilst Sanderson replaces Conor McLaughlin on the other flank.
In midfield, there could be some rare opportunities for the likes of George Dobson, taking the defensive midfield role from veteran Grant Leadbitter, as well as young 19-year-old sensation Daniel Neill, who may start alongside Josh Scowen further up the pitch.
Neill has started all three matches in the EFL Trophy thus far, but is yet to feature in League One this term.
Chris Maguire is another who keeps his place amongst the line-up but there are two more changes.
At left-wing we could see Jack Diamond come in as Aiden McGeady isn’t fit enough to start back-to-back matches in quick succession whilst the aforementioned Wyke replaces Will Grigg in the attack.
Predicted XI: Patterson; McFadzean, Wright, Flanagan, Sanderson; Dobson, Scowen, Neill; Diamond, Maguire, Wyke.
AND in other news, Sunderland could prosper immensely under Kristjaan Speakman…