18-year-old miss out & “wonderful” £7k-p/w” gem starts in 2 changes: Predicted Sunderland XI vs Huddersfield

Sunderland have an opportunity to bounce back tomorrow evening against strugglers Huddersfield.

Sunderland’s recent home and away record has been chalk and cheese.

While the Black Cats have gone winless in five away games, Tony Mowbray’s team have won three of their previous four at the Stadium of Light.

They must now respond at home to strugglers Huddersfield Town, who haven’t won in six matches after losing 2-0 at Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.

Following his dismal performance against the Pilgrims, Mowbray is expected to shake things up and rest some of his fatigued legs.

Sunderland could line up against Huddersfield tomorrow night, with two changes expected following the weekend defeat.

1GK – Anthony Patterson


With only youngster Nathan Bishop posing a challenge to his spot in the team, it would take something drastic for Anthony Patterson to be dropped. He’s played in all 17 Championship fixtures this term and the 23-year-old has kept five clean sheets.

2 RB – Trai Hume


Whilst Jack Clarke will take the plaudits for his devastating form, Trai Hume has quietly been one of Sunderland’s best players this season. The “brilliant” youngster, as dubbed by defensive partner Daniel Ballard, has created a whopping four big chances from right-back this term while impressing with his ability to defend, garnering a duel success rate of 62%.

3 CB – Luke O’Nien


Although his side slipped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat on Saturday, O’Nien still stood out in the heart of defence, showcasing his ability as a ball-playing defender and a monster in the tackle. He accurately placed 90 of his 101 passes (89%), five of his ten attempted long balls and won both of his ground duels. Such performances will unlikely see him get dropped anytime soon.

CB – Daniel Ballard


Dan Ballard’s presence as a colossal figure in Sunderland’s back line continues to grow. The 24-year-old demonstrated his monstrous physical attributes against Plymouth, winning a whopping ten of his 12 aerial duels and four of his five tackles. The former Arsenal man is no stranger to such domineering performances, he’s been bullying opposition attackers all season long.

5 LB – Niall Huggins


Huggins is a driving force down the left flank and the youngster has all the ingredients in his locker to become a top defender.

The 23-year-old, who has featured in 14 Championship matches this term, has won an impressive 64% of his duels, ranked in the top 7% against his position peers in the division for successful take-ons and top 8% for pass completion, underlining his sensational defensive and attacking attributes.

6 CDM – Pierre Ekwah


Pierre Ekwah is the glue that holds the midfield together. When surrounded by an array of technical stars – like Rodri is for Manchester City – you need someone who is going to run through brick walls for the team and fly into tackles. Ekwah has showcased his tremendous talent as a holding midfielder by recovering 5.4 balls and 1.8 tackles per game.

7 RM – Patrick Roberts


Hailed as “magic” by Mowbray, Roberts’ wand of a left foot is capable of conjuring up brilliance and while only one assist in 15 Championship games suggests he’s lacking an end product, other parts of his game have flourished.

The one-time Celtic star ranks in the top 2% against his positional peers in the division for progressive carries, successful take-ons and touches in the attacking penalty box. If he continues delivering such a threat down the right flank, the goal contributions will follow.

8 CM – Dan Neil


A playmaker in advanced areas for Sunderland, Neil’s exquisite passing range – once likened to Manchester United legend Michael Carrick – has been used to unlock defences all season long. With 8.67 progressive carries per 90, three big chances created and two assists, the 21-year-old offers so much creativity and that will be needed in abundance against Huddersfield’s low block.

9 CM – Adil Aouchiche


With Jobe Bellingham in need of a rest after starting every Championship game this term, attacking midfielder Aouchiche – who was once dubbed a “wonderful talent” by Jacek Kulig – should be in line to make his first start this evening.

The £7k per-week starlet replaced Ekwah at half-time on Saturday as Mowbray attempted to go more attacking with the Frenchman sprinkling some quality onto proceedings, recording an impressive four key passes and five accurate long balls.

10 LM – Jack Clarke


An unstoppable force down the left flank, who possesses the pace, skill and guile to unlock defences, Clarke’s name needs no introduction. Since the departure of Ross Stewart in the summer, he’s become Sunderland’s talisman with nine goals in 17 appearances and will cause destruction down Huddersfield’s right flank if they afford him space and time.

11 ST – Bradley Dack


Sunderland have had a striker nightmare this season, which was epitomized by Naziriy Rusyn’s performance on Saturday, with the Ukraine forward only making 12 touches in 45 minutes on the pitch.

After a terrible performance in Sunderland’s 2-0 loss to Plymouth, this player will be concerned about his future in the first team.

He was replaced by 18-year-old Eliezer Mayenda, but Mowbray could chose Bradley Dack in that position tonight. He has the technical ability to drop deep against a low block and spray passes out to Roberts and Clarke, as well as the clinical edge to finish off chances.

Sunderland predicted lineup in full vs Huddersfield: GK – Patterson; RB – Hume, CB – O’Nien, CB – Ballard, LB – Huggins; CDM – Ekwah, RM – Roberts, CM – Neil, CM – Aouchiche, LM – Clarke; ST – Dack

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