The pressure is mounting on Jack Ross at Sunderland with many fans of the North East club running out of patience with the Scotsman.
His Sunderland side are fifth in League One but are already trailing league leaders Ipswich Town by five points.
Last weekend’s victory against MK Dons kept the Black Cats in the chasing pack but did little to convince that they will be in the automatic promotion places next May.
Ross’ side now face a trip to Sincil Bank to face a Lincoln City side that are still trying to work out their identity in the post-Cowley era.
Michael Appleton is the new man in charge of the Imps after the Cowley brothers took over at Huddersfield Town and has lost his opening two games.
This feels like a game that Sunderland need to be winning and they run the risk of falling out of the top six if they don’t.
With that in mind, here is the side we expect Ross to field on Saturday.
Fans have been calling for Lee Burge to get an opportunity in the league after some impressive performances in the Carabao Cup but Jon McLaughlin has been ever-present in that number one jersey throughout Ross’ tenure and I can’t see that changing here.
Despite their manager making more clean sheets one of his targets in the summer, the Black Cats are yet to keep one yet in League One but the recent additions of signings Joel Lynch and Laurens De Bock to the starting line up has looked to have shored up their defence.
Lynch looks set to start alongside Jordan Willis at centre-back with De Bock on the left and Connor McLaughlin on the right. With Lincoln struggling this looks an ideal opportunity to earn that first league clean sheet.
Ahead of them Max Power and Dylan McGeouch have emerged as Ross’ first-choice duo in recent weeks and look likely to reprise their roles. The former has scored two goals in his previous two games and will undoubtedly be hopeful of making that three in three.
Moving Luke O’Nien further up the field has allowed the 24-year-old to be much more of a creative influence, so Ross will surely utilise him as the number 10 once again. Ross has confirmed that Aiden McGeady could be fit for Saturday but I can’t see him risking the winger, such is his importance, so Lynden Gooch and Chris Maguire look likely candidates to start.
Another player who Ross has suggested should be back is on-loan forward Marc McNulty. The Scotsman has scored twice in six appearances and been the most prolific of the Black Cats strikers this season and there seems a good chance he will return to the side with Charlie Wyke missing out.