Four hot topics for David Moyes ahead of Sunderland v Manchester City

Sunderland boss David Moyes is due to hold his pre-match press conference at the Academy of Light from 1.30pm this afternoon.

Friday, 3rd March 2017, 9:26 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:19 am
Didier Ndong and Wahbi Khazri

The Black Cats host Manchester City at the Stadium of Light on Sunday (KO 4pm) but what are the key issues facing Moyes ahead of the game?

1) To risk Jan Kirchhoff or not?

David Moyes

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The German midfielder has been back in training at Sunderland for a fortnight now, with Moyes opting not to rush him back for last weekend's defeat at Everton.

Kirchhoff will be a contender for the visit of Manchester City but Moyes admitted that a crucial April schedule will be on his mind when deciding when to introduce the 26-year-old.

With games fast running out, Sunderland cannot afford to write off any games so should Moyes bring him back in the fold against City? Or hold him back ahead of a very busy April.

Speaking earlier this week, Moyes said: "That’s part of it [busy April].

Jermain Defoe in action

"You’ve got to remember that he’s missed a lot of football either through this injury or other injuries he’s had, this season we’ve really not had a lot of Kirch at all."

2) To make changes to his Sunderland side?

Everton were comfortable for long periods at Goodison Park, too comfortable.

Sunderland's midfield was dominated for large spells with Darron Gibson and Seb Larsson running out of steam in the latter stages of the game.

David Moyes

Does Moyes look to inject some fresh pace, energy and flair into his starting line-up or be more cautious against a City side full of goals?

George Honeyman, Wahbi Khazri and Lynden Gooch are all contenders for a recall to the first team.

Jordan Pickford will start in goal, with Jermain Defoe leading the attack but Moyes has decisions to make in defence and midfield.

3) Papy Djilobodji is back after suspension, should he start?

Jermain Defoe in action

And on that defensive note, this weekend sees the return of Papy Djilobodji to the Sunderland squad after a four-game suspension.

Will Moyes bring him straight back into the side or keep faith with John O'Shea and Lamine Kone at the heart of defence?

Against Everton, Sunderland were far more organised and compact so it would be no surprise to see Moyes keep faith with his back four.

Other options include Joleon Lescott but on-loan Jason Denayer is ineligible against his parent club.

4) Does Moyes keep faith with Fabio Borini?

The Italian forward has been speaking this week about his frustrations and hopes he can soon pin down one role in the Black Cats’ side.

The Italian struggled with injury in the early part of the season and, upon his return, has been unable to find consistency either in selection or his performances.

He said: "When we had so many injuries, if he needed me to play left midfield then I played left midfield.

"Even if it is not my preference, if I don’t like it because I want to score goals, then I have to change my game because helping the team was more important.

"But when you play left midfield, it does not require your goals, it requires your defensive side."

Does Moyes stick with Borini this weekend or look to freshen things up and bring in one of either Honeyman, Gooch or Khazri?