Sunderland will be hoping to extend their great run of form as they take on Ipswich Town later today.
The Black Cats have shown their promotion credentials in recent weeks as they look to continue their unbeaten run of form to seven games.
In those seven games, Lee Johnson’s side have four games and currently sit level on points with Wigan who are placed second in the table.
They come up against an Ipswich Town side who have won just once in their last six games and despite heavy investment in the summer, have struggled to move beyond midtable this season.
They will however be buoyed by the appointment of a new manager as Manchester United Assistant Keiran McKenna was given the job as manager earlier this week.
This will add an extra edge to the game for Lee Johnson as the side he will have been preparing for will have different expectations and style with a new manager.
Here, we’ve taken a look at two Sunderland dilemmas that Johnson is facing ahead of this clash with Ipswich on Saturday.
Coping with the injury crisis
Sunderland will be without up to eight first-team players for this game. A number of those have been long-term injuries but nonetheless, it’s given Lee Johnson a headache he wouldn’t have wanted to have.
The injuries to key players has forced Johnson into a five-at-the-back system in recent weeks and it has been paying off in terms of results.
But the demands on the current group of players is clearly high because of missing personnel. With that in mind, it will be difficult for this side to maintain their current run of form as a result of not being able to rotate the players.
Risking Lynden Gooch
It’s a big game for Sunderland against Ipswich who will still harbour hopes of promotion now they’ve made an ambitious managerial appointment in Kieran McKenna.
Sunderland on the other hand will be keen to maintain their form and keep the pressure on Wigan and Rotherham who occupy the top two places.
With that in mind, Johnson will be wondering whether he should risk Lynden Gooch for the game as the versatile midfielder faces a late fitness test after picking up a knock against Plymouth last weekend.
With the current injury crisis ruling almost a starting XI out and a busy Christmas schedule coming up, Johnson has a difficult decision to make when it comes to playing Gooch.