Sunderland are back in League One action tonight with a home clash against Morecambe, who are currently 15 places and 17 points below the Black Cats in the league table.
Their previous league game saw Sunderland take an early lead against Oxford United through Leon Dajaku, only for the away side to equalise before halftime with Johnson’s side then unable to find a winner in the second half, ending with 1-1 draw.
Given the significant gap between Sunderland and tonight’s opponents, Johnson and everyone else at the club will definitely be hoping that they can pick up a win and get closer to the top of the table.
In terms of which players Johnson could pick to be in his starting XI on this occasion, one player that started the match against Oxford that should not be in the team on this occasion is Lynden Gooch.
Despite managing to provide an assist in their 2-1 win over Cambridge United last month, the American’s performance against Oxford left a lot to be desired.
With 78 touches of the ball in total, Gooch only managed to complete 19 of the 37 passes he attempted, misplacing five crosses and ten long balls, losing possession on 28 occasions in total.
As well as his wastefulness on the ball, he didn’t have much of an impact in an attacking sense either with just one key pass and one shot at goal which was off target.
Labelled as an “emotive” player in the past by Johnson, this performance was anything but that and ultimately earned the attacker an uninspiring overall match rating of 6.6/10, making him one of the lowest-rated players on the day according to SofaScore.
With this in mind, perhaps it could be time for Johnson to bring Gooch’s run in the team to an end on this occasion to give his side the best chance of securing a win.
However, with the plethora of injury issues that Sunderland have at the moment, Johnson could be forced into having to stick with Gooch, who is currently earning a weekly wage of £5k-per-week according to Salary Sport, for the time being.
If this turns out to be the case and Gooch does start tonight, he’ll have to make sure he puts in a better and more impactful performance to make sure Sunderland don’t slip up and come away without a win.