Sunderland were dealt a significant blow as they were held to a 2-2 draw by MK Dons at the weekend.
The Black Cats had high hopes going into the contest after securing a 3-0 win in the Papa John’s Trophy last week, however the Wearsiders were unable to make it back-to-back wins against Russell Martin’s side.
It was certainly a case of two points dropped for Lee Johnson’s side who will be keen to get back to winning ways when they travel to Shrewsbury on Tuesday evening.
With games in hand Sunderland still have work to do to push into the League One play-off places and that means that Johnson has some big decisions to make as he looks to right the wrongs of a disappointing result.
Here are some of the dilemmas that the boss faces after the disappointment against MK Dons.
The troubled left back spot
It’s a position that continues to provide more questions than answers.
Callum McFadzean has held the role in recent weeks but has failed to really nail himself down as a dead-cert to play week in, week out under Lee Johnson.
Jake Vokins replaced him against MK Dons but also struggled to make a real impression.
With some crucial games ahead it seems that Johnson has a bit of a problem as he looks to find a player who can nail down that spot in the team – after all, they can’t afford to have a glaring weakness as the need for positive results gets greater by the week.
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Controlling the middle of the park
Sunderland’s form has been far from disastrous of late, but there’s still a need for them to increase their control over matches.
Grant Leadbitter and Luke O’Nien played in central midfield against MK Dons but allowed the hosts to dictate play for long spells – something that they will be wanting to address in the coming weeks.
Josh Scowen has been a regular starter of late and may well be seen as an ideal contender to come into the team to solidify things, but it seems that Johnson is still not entirely convinced that he’s found the best pairing to dominate the engine room week in, week out.