Sunderland travel to face Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Saturday as they look to extend their unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions.
Lee Johnson’s side are sitting pretty at the top of the League One table on 22 points and could extend their lead at the top with a win over Pompey.
The Black Cats come into the game off the back of a thumping 5-0 win over Cheltenham at the Stadium of Light earlier this week.
How many changes will Johnson make to his side? Here is our predicted XI…
We are predicting that he will make three changes from Tuesday night, with Dan Neil, Leon Dajaku and Alex Pritchard returning to the starting XI after sitting on the bench against Cheltenham.
The back five should stay the same. Hoffmann has kept two clean sheets in four League One games and the defensive four of Carl Winchester, Tom Flanagan, Bailey Wight and Niall Huggins should all keep their places for this one.
In midfield, we are predicting the first change to the XI will see Neil coming in, with Corry Evans being axed from the side. In five League One appearances this season, the 31-year-old has averaged a SofaScore rating of 6.68, with the Northern Ireland international averaging 58 minutes per match.
Meanwhile, Neil has averaged an impressive rating of 6.92, starting eight matches and averaging 87 minutes per game. This suggests that he is able to play to a higher standard whilst also having the fitness to see out more of the match, which is why the teenager should come in for Evans.
We are also predicting two changes to the attacking trident behind Ross Stewart. Nathan Broadhead is an injury doubt for this game, which could open up the number 10 spot. Pritchard was brought off the bench ahead of Elliot Embleton against Cheltenham and that could be a hint towards Johnson’s selection for this clash with Pompey, which is why we believe he could get the nod behind Stewart.
Finally, Dajaku should come in for Aiden O’Brien. We published an article explaining why Johnson should unleash the German winger on Portsmouth, with his goal against Cheltenham earlier this week hinting at his potential to be a game-changer for the Black Cats.
The rest of the team should stay the same, with Aiden McGeady, Luke O’Nien and Ross Stewart retaining their places in the XI. The latter has scored seven times in nine League One matches and will be aiming to add to his tally this weekend.