Sunderland will be looking to get back to winning ways after seven days when they travel to take on Bristol Rovers this weekend.
The Black Cats are in the middle of a wonderful run of form that has seen them move firmly into automatic promotion contention over recent weeks.
A 1-1 draw in their last match against Lincoln City saw them drop two points, meaning that the objective will be to go and get three points against Joey Barton’s side.
With that in mind let’s take a look at how Sunderland could line up this weekend.
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Sunderland will be without Bailey Wright, Jordan Jones and Tom Flanagan for the clash with Bristol Rovers.
The trio are closing in on a return to action following their troubles with injury, but according to Lee Johnson, it’s unlikely that the trio will be involved against Joey Barton’s side.
As quoted by the Northern Echo, Johnson said: “We’re getting there. Bailey is feeling really good, although he’s not immediately close to a return. Jordan Jones is a lot closer. It’s probably 70-30 against him playing (against Bristol Rovers), but he’s certainly out there buzzing about, which is good.
“Flanagan is back out on the grass, but is still a couple of weeks away. He might have to have a steroid injection in his foot because he’s still got a niggly chipped bone in the joint on the metatarsal. Hopefully, that won’t really interfere with his hamstring rehab, it will just aid it and make him run that little bit more fluidly.”
Johnson also gave an update on Denver Hume who is stepping up his recovery by featuring for the under-23s.
He added: “Denver’s moving really well. He’s really committing to every action, as you’d expect with his all-action style. He managed to get 45 minutes in a game against Gateshead in the week, and we were looking for that energy as well as the speed and dynamism that he’s got.
“That all looked perfect. There was no impingement there at all. He was a little bit rusty in possession, but you’d expect that after so long out. We’ve got an Under-23s game on Monday against Burnley, and I’d like him to get some more minutes in that. Then we’ll have a look and assess it, and speak to him to see how he feels about the progression back to getting first-team minutes.”
Predicted Sunderland team
Here’s the side that could start against Bristol Rovers…
With Lee Johnson’s side still contending with a number of injuries there’s a chance that we could see an unchanged side against Bristol Rovers.
That means that Conor McLaughlin, Dion Sanderson, Luke O’Nien and Callum McFadzean could line up in defence, while Carl Winchester, Max Power and Grant Leadbitter could keep their place in midfield as Sunderland look to assert their dominance on the fixture.
With Jordan Jones and Aiden O’Brien likely miss out it means that Lynden Gooch, Aiden McGeady and Charlie Wyke could start in attacking, while Ross Stewart will be waiting in the wings to try and make an impact off the bench.