Following a disappointing first round exit in the FA Cup, Phil Parkinson and the lads face another cup game in the Papa John’s EFL Trophy against Joey Barton’s Fleetwood. Is this a chance to return to winning ways, or will some youth players be tried out?
GK: Remi Matthews. Yet to keep a clean sheet at Sunderland, Matthews is clearly our second choice goalkeeper and is almost guaranteed to start again tonight.
RWB: Jack Diamond. At wingback, Diamond should be given more minutes in this position to become more comfortable here.
CB: Jordan Willis. Recovering from an injury, this low pressure game is ideal for easing Willis back into the team before Saturday’s league match.
CB: Conor McLaughlin. McLaughlin looked comfortable in Bailey Wright’s role in the middle of a back three, and given the Australian’s injury troubles it would be smart to play Conor here again.
CB: Dion Sanderson. Clearly a lad with a lot of promise, the Wolves loanee has the technical ability to play here instead of Tom Flanagan who has been out of sorts recently.
LWB: Callum McFadzean. One of the few players on Saturday who finished with any credit, McFadzean was arguably man of the match and tonight he’ll be looking to build his fitness and continue an impressive start.
CM: Max Power. Max has had a very poor season so far and that continued last weekend. It seems like he just needs a run of games under his belt to get back into the swing of things, so he could start tonight where the pressure is off.
CM: George Dobson. Like Power, Dobson has not had a good year. He’s seen himself become the scapegoat for many fans after a poor result, and if he makes an impact tonight then that could be a small step in changing fans’ recent opinions on him.
CM: Dan Neil. Instead of a midfield two, Parkinson may prefer to select Neil for some extra energy in the middle of the pitch. Although the youngster didn’t come off the bench for the last match, he could be looking at this game as a chance to impress as we’re already through from the group stage.
ST: Elliot Embleton. One youth player who did come off the bench at the weekend, Embleton was good on the ball for the most part and could replace Chris Maguire in the role just behind the striker. His vision and creativity could be key in releasing the striker, as well as his two-footed corners being a useful tool.
ST: Will Grigg. Although Danny Graham was more involved against Mansfield, he missed two massive chances so I think it would be smart to take him out of the firing line. If Grigg is the main man up front, the service from Neil, McFadzean and Embleton could help him start scoring and competing with Charlie Wyke for a spot in the league fixtures.