Sunderland are rock-bottom in the league table and are in a desperate need of points to save themselves. The Black Cats are due to make a trip to the Loftus Road Stadium today.
Chris Coleman’s troops were comprehensively beaten by Aston Villa during midweek as they lost 0-3 to the Villans at the Stadium of Light and thus, they really need to bounce back by in the upcoming fixture.
Tyias Browning has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a groin injury and this is a massive blow for Sunderland. Besides, Jake Clarke-Salter is suspended, Paddy McNair is unavailable and Darron Gibson is still out.
John O’Shea is a major doubt for the game after having gone off injured on Tuesday. Robbin Ruiter, Adam Matthews and Duncan Watmore are also sidelined.
Jason Steele has been used regularly in between the sticks. Steele is yet to bag even a single clean sheet from 11 league appearances so far and there is no denying that Sunderland’s defensive woes have contributed massively to their downfall and Steele’s woeful record.
With John O’Shea doubtful and Browning, Clarke-Salter, Wilson, McNair and Gibson out of contention, Coleman has a major headache. As Lamine Kone is the only fit centre-back left, he is expected to start alongside Brendan Galloway and Billy Jones.
Jones, despite being a right-back, fared well after Browning was sent off against Aston Villa and thus, could come handy amidst the existing defensive crisis. Galloway has played quite a few games in the central defence for the Under23s in the recent weeks and Coleman might be inclined to give him a start.
Bryan Oviedo is expected to start as the left-wingback whereas at the right-wingback slot, we expect Coleman to station Donald Love. These two have to cater to their defensive duties and at the same time, they need to attack and help their offensive teammates in the final third.
On-loan Liverpool midfielder, Ovie Ejaria, is anticipated to start from the middle of the park yet again alongside Lee Cattermole. Ejaria and Cattermole have a decent chemistry and Coleman is unlikely to meddle with the midfield combination.
Ashley Fletcher has been enduring stuttering form up top and it goes without saying that he needs to up the ante to save his side from relegation. He is expected to lead the line once again. Callum McManaman and Aiden McGeady are expected to start as the inside forwards.