Sunderland goalkeeper Lee Burge will reportedly return to the starting XI tomorrow with the Black Cats set to name a strong side for the crucial EFL Trophy tie against Scunthorpe.
Phil Parkinson’s side have to beat the League Two side to qualify for the knock-out stages of the competition after they slipped to an embarrassing 2-1 loss to Leicester City U21s last week.
Sunderland are currently third in Group A, one point behind Scunthorpe, meaning anything less than a win will see them knocked out of the competition.
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The Iron have struggled this season and are currently 21st in League Two but it appears that the Black Cats are taking no chances tomorrow night.
Assistant manager Steve Parkin has told Chronicle Live that Sunderland will be naming a strong side against Scunthorpe.
He said: “I think it was always in our minds to play some of the lads we’d not seen against Leicester, and then with not having a game this weekend, take a strong squad to Scunthorpe.
“I think that was always in our thoughts, and that will remain the same.
“There might be a few changes, but we need to pick a strong team–there’s no getting away from that.
“We want to win the game and we want to go through.
“It’s a habit we want to get into.
“We were disappointed at the weekend [against Gillingham] that we didn’t see the game through and play better in the second half.
“We’re looking for a reaction tomorrow night.”
It is understood that Burge, who has been sidelined due to injury in recent weeks, will return to the side.
The 26-year-old has emerged as first-choice under Parkinson but picked up an injury against Shrewsbury.
Jon McLaughlin replaced him in that match and has started the last four games for the North East club, however, he will be unavailable tomorrow as he has been called up to the Scotland squad.
It’s no surprise to me that Sunderland are going to field a strong squad against Scunthorpe tomorrow.
Their upcoming League One game against Bristol Rovers has been postponed due to the international break, meaning their next game will be the FA Cup replay against Gillingham next Tuesday.
Sunderland drew 1-1 with the Gills in the FA Cup on the weekend, meaning Parkinson has won just two of his first seven games.
Tomorrow night’s game gives him a chance to get another win under his belt and to give raise his squad’s confidence.
The return of Burge should be a boost for the Black Cats as the 26-year-old has looked impressive between the sticks this season.