Sam Allardyce reveals the factor which will decide Sunderland XI against Chelsea

Duncan Watmore
Duncan Watmore
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Sam Allardyce admits Chelsea’s set-up may be the factor which leads him to change the Sunderland line-up this weekend.

Allardyce has named an unchanged line-up for Sunderland’s last five outings, with the Black Cats suffering just one defeat during that run.

However, three games have finished in draws and with Sunderland needing to claw back the one-point deficit with fourth bottom Newcastle United, Allardyce has been contemplating whether to shuffle his pack for Saturday’s visit of last season’s Premier League champions Chelsea.

The likes of Duncan Watmore, Seb Larsson and Jack Rodwell will all hope to come into contention, with Allardyce analysing Chelsea’s weaknesses before deciding on his line-up.

Allardyce said: “Yes, I’m tempted (to make changes) although the player who comes in will have a greater pressure and responsibility to perform than the one he replaces.

“But the other side of it is tactically.

“I might look at Chelsea and think I’ll pick this player because he’s better suited to facing Chelsea than the one whose been in for the last three or four games.

“I’ll obviously make that decision when the time’s right and hopefully get the team functioning to their best.”

The only injury concern for Allardyce is full-back Billy Jones who has been struggling with a hip problem this week, albeit the ex-West Brom man hasn’t featured since February.

If Jones is ruled out, summer signings Ola Toivonen or Jeremain Lens are likely to take the vacant spot on the bench.