After drawing 1-1 in their previous League One game against Oxford United at the weekend, Sunderland are back in action tonight with another home clash; this time against Morecambe, who are currently 15 places and 17 points below the Black Cats in the League One table.
It’s no secret that Sunderland have a bit of an injury crisis at the moment, with the likes of Aiden McGeady, Luke O’Nien, Dennis Cirkin, Denver Hume and Corry Evans ruled out, and both Frederik Alves and Will Harris joining them after missing the match against the U’s.
With this in mind, here’s how we feel Johnson could set his team up to take on Morecambe, with two changes from the XI which started against Oxford.
In goal, we think Ron-Thorben Hoffmann will retain his place in the side to try and keep a first clean sheet since their 2-0 win over Ipswich Town last month.
For the back three, we can see Johnson sticking with Callum Doyle and Bailey Wright on either side of Tom Flanagan in the middle after he impressed against Oxford.
With Leon Dajaku scoring in the early stages of Sunderland’s previous league match, we reckon the manager will keep him in the side at left wing-back to see if he can add another goal to his tally. On the right, we think Johnson will drop Lynden Gooch after he failed to have much of an impact last time out, with Aiden O’Brien coming in instead.
For the central midfield positions, we can see Johnson keeping Dan Neil and Carl Winchester in the side but taking Alex Pritchard out after the Sunderland boss said that he took the player off in the second half against Oxford due to fatigue.
In his place, we think Elliot Embleton, who is currently earning £5.3k-per-week according to Salary Sport, will make a return to the starting XI to see if he can help Sunderland secure another win and push them closer to the top of the table.
At the top of the pitch, with Ross Stewart being the Black Cats’ top scorer by some distance this season, it would be hard to see him not start here, with Nathan Broadhead alongside him.