League One’s leading two teams face off at the Stadium of Light tomorrow afternoon as table-toppers Sunderland host Accrington Stanley.
Stanley may have played a match more than Sunderland but they’re level on points with Lee Johnson’s side who have gotten the 2021-22 campaign off to an almost perfect start.
Ross Stewart has been leading the line for the Wearsiders and is replacing the goals of Charlie Wyke that departed to Wigan Athletic, but it isn’t the Latics, Portsmouth or free-spending Ipswich Town who are up there with them as the early pace-setters but John Coleman’s plucky side.
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You’d think that after victory over Wycombe Wanderers before the international break that Lee Johnson’s team would pick itself, however the Black Cats have a number of players who have been with their countries this week and most only returned to training today makes it a bit more difficult – let’s see who he could go with.
Johnson’s starting selections of Tom Flanagan, Callum Doyle and Dennis Cirkin have all featured in international matches in the last week but they should all be fresh enough to keep their places.
Why change a winning team though? It would mean that young Anthony Patterson keeps his place in-between the sticks from the more experienced Lee Burge, who was dropped following Sunderland’s only defeat of the season against Burton Albion.
And at right-back, the more attack-minded Huggins will have to bide his time as Carl Winchester, who is naturally a midfielder, has been solid in that position and doesn’t deserve to lose it.
Other players who will have to bide their time as well are Alex Pritchard and German recruit Leon Dajaku, however with the games coming up thick and fast this month they may get their chance sooner rather than later.
It is the same line-up that defeated Wycombe though that Johnson is likely to select and it would be a surprise is anything was changed, unless there are some undisclosed injuries or if Aiden McGeady isn’t fully fit after needing injections in his knee earlier in the season – which could give someone like Dajaku a chance.