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Sunderland: Tony Mowbray must unleash Ellis Simms vs Luton

Tony Mowbray’s Sunderland return to action in the Championship this afternoon as they travel to Kenilworth Road to take on Luton Town.

The Black Cats have lost their last two matches in the division and have only won one of their last seven games, which has left them sitting in the bottom half of the table.

They will now be hoping to return to winning ways as they face Luton Town, who are four points ahead of Sunderland, after losing 4-2 to Burnley last time out.

The manager may look to make changes from the team that was beaten at the Stadium of Light last weekend and one player who should be brought back into the XI is centre-forward, Ellis Simms.

Mowbray has confirmed that the attacker is back and available to play a part this weekend. The manager does not want to throw him in with 90 minutes straight away and has revealed that they will take a cautious approach to his game time across the four games before the break.

However, the head coach must unleash the striker from the start against Luton and give him the first half to see what he is capable of doing. If he gets through the opening 45 without too many problems then they could extend it until the 60th minute and rest him for the final 30, bringing on someone with pace – like Jewison Bennette or Jack Clarke – to exploit tired legs.

Should Ellis Simms start?





Clarke has been used through the middle in recent matches but the return of Simms would allow him to play in his more natural wide role, which gives him the chance to take full-backs on and create chances using his pace as a winger – leaving the on-loan Everton man in the striker position to benefit from those opportunities.

Simms, who was dubbed anabsolute nuisance by journalist Phil Smith earlier this season, enjoyed a fantastic start to the campaign as he scored three goals and created two big chances for his teammates in eight Championship appearances.

Toffees reporter Chris Smith previously described him as a “clinical finisher” and his record of 48 goals in 88 games for Everton at U18 and U21 levels combined backs that up.

The 21-year-old is a goalscorer and could offer a natural number nine option for Sunderland against Luton, instead of having Clarke in as a makeshift striker. Therefore, Mowbray must unleash the 21-year-old upfront ahead of the former Spurs man, who could move out wide to provide service for the £1.3k-per-week forward.