Despite the dismissal of Johnson and a heavy defeat, there was plenty of excitement surrounding The Stadium of Light this week, as former striker Jermain Defoe re-joined the North-East club for the remainder of the season.
But will the 39-year-old make his second Sunderland debut on Saturday? Here’s how Football FanCast think the Black Cats will start against Rovers.
Although it’s the same defence that shipped six goals last week, Dodds doesn’t have a plethora of defensive options at his disposal and may be tempted to keep the back-four untouched.
It could be argued that Tom Flanagan would’ve been a suitable choice to put back into the fold, but the 30-year-old joined League One rivals Shrewsbury Town on deadline day.
The changes come in midfield as Alex Pritchard slots into a central role in the place of Dan Neil whilst we expect Jack Clarke to make his full debut for Sunderland after coming off of the bench against Bolton last week.
The 21-year-old has endured a series of unfortunate events since his move from Leeds United to Tottenham Hotspur in 2019, having been a breakout star for the Whites.
After returning to Leeds on loan for half of the 2019/20 campaign, the Englishman has also had temporary spells at QPR and Stoke City and earlier this month made the move down another division to join Sunderland.
Having been labelled as “excellent” by former Leeds striker Noel Whelan after an impressive debut as a 17-year-old, the £4.5m-rated man certainly still has potential and a strong second half of the season with Sunderland could get his career back on track.
In terms of the striking department, although Sunderland fans will want to see Defoe back in a red and white shirt as soon as possible, the Black Cats do boast the third tier’s current top-scorer in Ross Stewart, who has 18 league goals, and it would be unfair to see the Scotsman replaced for nostalgic reasons.