Lee Johnson’s Sunderland side head into their upcoming League One fixture on Tuesday evening in fantastic form, with the Black Cats remaining unbeaten over their last seven fixtures in all competitions, as well as currently sitting second in the third tier standings.
However, while the visit of 14th-placed Cheltenham Town should not cause Sunderland too many problems on paper, the Mackems boss has a number of fitness concerns in his first-team squad at present, something which could well pose the 40-year-old with something of a selection headache against the Robins.
So, will Johnson make any changes to the team that started last time out against Bolton Wanderers? Here’s how we think Sunderland could line up against Cheltenham, along with the latest team and injury news…
With both Callum Doyle and Dennis Cirkin appearing to be doubts for the Cheltenham fixture due to injury, Johnson may well be forced into at least two changes from the side that defeated Bolton last weekend, however, we predict the 40-year-old will make one further adjustment to his starting XI on Tuesday.
Regarding Doyle and Cirkin, the two players who replaced the stricken duo against the Trotters, Bailey Wright and Niall Huggins, come into the side to face the Robins, with the 20-year-old Leeds United loanee playing on the opposite flank to his natural position at right-back.
Elsewhere, the duo of Luke O’Nien and Dan Neil retain their spots in the middle of the park, while Elliot Embleton, who started on the left-wing in place of the sidelined Lynden Gooch last time out, moves into central attacking midfield.
As such, the £2.25m-rated Alex Pritchard could be set for a return to the Sunderland bench, with 20-year-old Bayern Munich loanee Leon Dajaku staring on the left-hand side of the Black Cats’ attack, while Ross Stewart retains his place up top ahead of Nathan Broadhead.