Sunderland have made an excellent start to the new League One campaign, accumulating 28 points from their opening 12 games.
It is a start that currently leaves them second in the table, and a mere point from the third-tier summit, although they do have two games in hand on Plymouth Argyle – the current occupiers of top-spot in the division.
Sunderland did find themselves losing out 4-0 to Portsmouth earlier in the month, but they have regrouped and eliminated that from their minds with a 2-1 victory against Gillingham and a convincing 4-0 thrashing of Crewe Alexandra.
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The Black Cats will be hoping that they will not be undone by Johnnie Jackson’s first game in charge for The Addicks, with the 39-year-old stepping in following Nigel Adkins’ departure.
Here, we take a look at two dilemmas that Lee Johnson faces ahead of this important clash with Charlton this afternoon…
Change a winning side?
Sunderland performed excellently against Crewe, and there is certainly scope for Johnson to name the same starting XI for today’s game.
However, for the purpose of keeping things fresh, he may also be considering adding a few changes.
The likes of Leon Dajaku, Denver Hume and Bailey Wright were all named on the bench against The Alex, with the trio certainly capable of starting week in week out.
Equally, these are excellent players to bring on, with Dajaku possessing the ability to change the game with his energy, attacking drive and skilful nature, whilst Hume and Wright can help see out games.
Alex Pritchard’s situation
Johnson told Chronicle Live after the 4-0 victory against Crewe that the reason Alex Pritchard was substituted off was because of a “whiplash” type of injury.
It remains to be seen if he will be able to play a part against The Addicks, but The Black Cats do possess quality options if he is not available.
As mentioned before, Leon Dajaku has match-winning capabilities, and he is showing plenty of promise thus far.
Sunderland also have 20-year-old Stephen Wearne who could also step into Pritchard’s role, if left vacant, with the academy graduate netting two in two in the EFL Trophy.