Sunderland take on fellow pace setters Peterborough United at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night in what is sure to be their toughest task so far this season.
Injuries and suspensions picked up in Saturdays 1-1 draw at Coventry means four players which started at the Ricoh Arena will be unavailable for Tuesdays match. Denver Hume, Glen Loovens, Lyndon Gooch and Lee Cattermole will be unavailable for the top of the table clash. Tom Flanagan will most likely be paired at centre half with Jack Baldwin; the pair have looked strong together so far in their Sunderland careers. Bryan Oviedo should get the nod to start at left back in place of Hume to settle the back four for the midweek contest.
Lee Cattermole will be a miss in the central midfield position, if Ross wants to stick with the two midfielders in front of the defence then Dylan McGeouch and Max Power will get the nod. The return of Power was a boost on Saturday and having him available to start in this match will be vital.
Lyndon Gooch pushed on through injury in the final minutes of the Coventry match and there’s little chance he will be fit in time. This could well see the return of Aiden McGeady to the starting line-up; this highlights the potential depth which Sunderland can have this season. The long-term injury to Charlie Wyke may not be as bad an issue as first thought if Sunderland can keep the goals and chances flowing from midfield.
Sunderland possible line-up:
Matthews Baldwin Flanagan Oviedo
Maguire Honeyman McGeady
The visitors don’t need much of an introduction. Peterborough have been almost perfect this season having only lost one game so far this season. Jason Cummings and Matt Godin have contributed to half of Posh league goals this season and they will be looking to add to their and their sides tally on Wearside this week. Peterborough have won all five of their away games so far this season, netting 17 times already. Against a Sunderland side which doesn’t keep too many clean sheets, this could be crucial.
Sunderland have lost the winning feeling in recent weeks. It’s just one win in five, hardly form which will see them promoted come the end of the season. It is still early days, and one defeat in ten matches is still a positive start at any level. There will be goals on Tuesday night and they will be evenly shared. Those in attendances should be in for a fascinating contest.
Prediction: Sunderland AFC 2-2 Peterborough United