In a low-pressure FA Cup tie at home, Phil Parkinson has the chance to experiment with the squad and try out some unfamiliar faces. Sunderland-born Nigel Clough faces the lads in his first match as new Mansfield boss.
GK: Remi Matthews. So far, Matthews hasn’t impressed even as a backup, so will be hoping to get through this match unscathed and without any more major errors.
RWB: Conor McLaughlin. McLaughlin hasn’t looked comfortable at wingback this season, so Parkinson may use this game to let the Northern Irishman become more familiar here against lower quality opponents.
CB: Dion Sanderson. Impressing on his debut, Sanderson has been recovering from a minor knock. Given our defensive injury woes, it’ll be a welcome return to the squad if he features tomorrow.
CB: Brandon Taylor. The youngster could come in to give Bailey Wright a rest as Taylor continues his path to the first team. He’s got a lot of work to do on Saturday to force his way into Phil Parkinson’s thoughts.
CB: Tom Flanagan. The most senior member of this back three, Flanagan could mix well as a leader next to two youthful defenders. He’s looked very shaky in recent weeks, so more game time can only be a good thing to regain his confidence.
LWB: Callum McFadzean. The former Plymouth man might make his debut tomorrow, as Denver Hume is rested. We know from last season that Parkinson doesn’t like to drop Denver but with the EFL trophy match on Tuesday, McFadzean could play at least one of these cup matches.
CM: Dan Neil. Neil was somewhat of a breakout star in preseason, catching the eye of fans and coaches alike. However he hasn’t featured in the league this season so this could be the eighteen-year-old’s chance to show what he’s about.
CM: Elliot Embleton. The attack-minded midfielder always seems to be on the cusp of breaking through, before suffering an injury setback. His recent return to the under-23 setup could mean he’s fit and ready to play men’s football.
CM: Max Power. Like Flanagan, Power has struggled recently and will benefit from the extra game time. Also like Flanagan, the ex Wigan midfielder can talk the younger midfield players through the game, sitting back as an experienced head when they push forward.
ST: Jack Diamond. One of the more versatile players in the team, Diamond could see himself in a more advanced role next to a target man tomorrow instead of wingback where he’s had short cameos this season. He’s quick, powerful and good on the ball so should prove to be a danger against a poor Mansfield side.
ST: Danny Graham. The 35 year old forward has appeared as a sub in a lot of matches this season. Graham will be looking to get his first Sunderland goal since Aston Villa’s under 21s by using his experience and quality.