Sunderland face huge injury concern ahead of Stoke as £15k-a-week star left out of squad

Sunderland will face Stoke City away this weekend in a game that Tony Mowbray must win; here is our predicted XI.

Sunderland will be trying to avenge their 4-0 setback to Middlesbrough in the previous Championship encounter this weekend.

It is a game that many expect them to win, but they will have to do so without important defender Dan Ballard, who is expected to miss the game due to injury.


Daniel Ballard (@dg_ballard) / X


Sunderland could move up to third place if they win, depending on other results.

As a result, Tony Mowbray’s anticipated XI includes a powerful team…

Sunderland predicted XI v Stoke

Given the importance of this game, Anthony Patterson should remain in goal for the Black Cats.

Trai Hume should be retained at right-back following his man-of-the-match performance for Northern Ireland on international duty earlier this week.

This game comes too soon for a returning Dennis Cirkin at left-back, therefore Niall Huggins appears to be the most likely alternative.

Luke O’Nien will start in center defense, with his partner still to be chosen. Mowbray is understood to have three choices to replace Ballard, with Jenson Seelt filling the void.

We believe that a system change away from the 4-4-2 used against Middlesbrough is required, so we will return to the 4-1-4-1 that has given Sunderland so much success.

As a result, Pierre Ekwah would have to be fit as the only plausible option for the suspended Dan Neil in the deep-lying midfield position.

Patrick Roberts and Jobe Bellingham are expected to play as 8/10 hybrids ahead of him.

Abdoullah Ba and the amazing Jack Clarke should continue to be two of Sunderland’s best this season on either flank.

Up front, we’d want to see Mason Burstow start; he needs to develop, but it’s evident he’s getting more comfortable with each game.

Sunderland’s expected starting lineup is as follows: Patterson; Hume, Seelt, O’Nien, Huggins; Ekwah; Ba, Roberts, Bellingham, Clarke; Burstow.

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