Sunderland travel to Wigan Athletic on Tuesday evening for their meeting in the Carabao Cup hoping to make it into the last 16 of the competition.
It just so happens that the contest sees the current top two teams in League One go head to head to try and make it into the next round of the competition.
That comes with both clubs having taken 16 points from their opening seven league games of the campaign as well as achieving two wins in the League Cup.
Wigan overtook Sunderland at the top of the League One table on Saturday, with the Black Cats having been held to a 2-2 draw at Fleetwood Town.
The Black Cats will be aiming to try and get back to winning ways against Wigan and repeat the trick after beating the Latics 2-1 from one goal behind on the opening day of the League One season at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland managed to secure an impressive 3-2 win away at Championship Blackpool in the previous round of the competition.
That came despite Johnson making numerous changes to his starting line-up to keep his squad fresh for their league fixtures.
In the summer Wigan signed a couple of players who were in the Sunderland squad that reached the play-off semi-finals last term.
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That should add extra motivation for the Black Cats to try and secure a morale-boosting win against the only side above them in the League One table at the moment.
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So with that in mind, we take a look at the starting line-up Johnson could name against Wigan tomorrow night…
Johnson’s go-to formation at the start of the campaign has been a 4-2-3-1 and that has not changed in the cup or the league really. So, it will be expected that the Black Cats will line-up in that shape at Wigan.
However, Johnson told the Sunderland Echo after the Black Cats’ 2-2 draw at Fleetwood that he could use the game against Wigan to get some minutes into the legs of some players currently on the fringes of the league squad.
As a result, Burge could come back into the side in goal with the keeper having lost his place in the last two League One matches to new signing Ron-Thorben Hoffmann.
It will be a chance for him to put down a marker and show that he can still try and reclaim his spot in goal in the forthcoming league games.
At right-back, Niall Huggins could come into the side in place of Carl Winchester and having started in the previous round at Blackpool that appears to be likely. It will give a chance for the 20-year-old to get some more first-team experience under his belt.
Down the left-hand side of the defence, Dennis Cirkin would be expected to keep his place with Denver Hume perhaps not yet ready to return to action just yet after signing a new contract at the Stadium of Light.
Frederik Alves could come back into the heart of the defence alongside Bailey Wright, who did return to the starting line-up at Fleetwood with Tom Flanagan having been suspended for that one.
Sunderland could hand a start to Corry Evans as he begins to build his fitness back up after having a spell out of action through injury recently. He could partner the impressive Daniel Neil at the base of the Black Cats’ midfield.
In the number ten position, Alex Pritchard is likely to come into the side in place of Elliot Embleton. It will be another chance for him to show that he can perhaps add creativity and goals to this Sunderland team.
A first start for Sunderland could also be handed to Leon Dajaku, with Johnson having suggested to the media ahead of the Black Cats’ trip to Fleetwood that at some point in the next week he will be given a chance to show what he can do.
He would be expected to play from the left-hand side and look to come inside on his stronger foot.
Aiden O’Brien scored a hat-trick in the previous round to take Sunderland through against Blackpool, but he has since nearly moved on loan to Doncaster Rovers and been left out of the squad in the league. This is a chance for him to come back into the side and show what he has to offer.
Upfront, Ross Stewart picked up a knock against Fleetwood and he is not expected to be risked against Wigan. Therefore, it would be expected that Nathan Broadhead will come into the side to replace him and lead the line.