Sunderland have an exciting trip to Arsenal to prepare for next Tuesday in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
Lee Burge has started between the sticks in the Black Cats’ victories over Wigan Athletic and Queens Park Rangers in the last couple of rounds.
The 28-year-old has lost his place to Bayern Munich loanee Ron-Thorben Hoffmann in League One this season but will be desperate to prove his worth in the Carabao Cup, where the Black Cats’ run has gone a little under the radar as the only non-Premier League side left in the competition.
Lee Johnson explained his dilemma over goalkeeper selection for the trip to north London when he spoke to ChronicleLive.
He said: “I have a tricky decision for a number of reasons on who to play in goal against Arsenal.
“The mindset, though, is to give everything we can to each individual goalkeeper to get them fit and firing.”
Sunderland have the chance to break into the automatic promotion places when they travel to Ipswich Town on Saturday, Johnson will be hoping they can come through it injury free to give the best possible account of themselves against the Gunners.
The cup run has been a welcome distraction from the high pressure environment for the Black Cats in League One and causing an upset next week would be one of the best nights in the Wearside club’s recent history.
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It is a tough decision for Johnson to make, Burge has served him well in his limited opportunities this season but Hoffmann has established himself as the number one.
Burge has been missing through injury since early November but will be in U23s action this week in preparation to throw his hat in the ring for selection at The Emirates.
With so much stress on Sunderland winning promotion from League One this season and avoiding a fifth consecutive campaign in the third tier, Johnson will be tempted to rotate even with the Black Cats in the last eight of the Carabao Cup.
It will be a great spectacle to see Sunderland return to such a high profile matchup even though the Black Cats have never won at The Emirates Stadium.