Three selection dilemmas for Sunderland boss Chris Coleman ahead of Reading clash
With spirits high on Wearside and the long winless run finally ended, attention turns to Sunderland's wretched home record ahead of Reading's visit tomorrow.
Chris Coleman’s options have already been limited by a raft of injuries, and a suspension for James Vaughan robs him of yet another attacking option.
So what are the key selection dilemmas he will be weighing up?
A recall for Wilson?
Coleman has at least had one injury boost this week with Marc Wilson returning to training. Wilson has struggled for form so far on Wearside, but, with a busy festive schedule, John O’Shea’s workload will have to be managed.
For now, however, Coleman will surely stick with the same back five that landed the first clean sheet of the season against Burton Albion.
Particularly encouraging were performances in the full-back department from Adam Matthews and Bryan Oviedo, offering a platform from which Sunderland will hope to build on and finally end their home hoodoo.
A start for Asoro?
Asoro played a key part in Sunderland’s late win over Burton Albion and has drawn high praise from his new manager. Coleman’s senior and first choice wingers, Aiden McGeady and Callum McManaman, have struggled for top form of late and that could tempt the Sunderland boss into making a change.
The Black Cats boss did, however, praise both during his appearance on BBC Newcastle and it is likely that he will keep the young Swede back to try and exploit tired legs in the opposition ranks from the bench.
Place in the matchday squad for Maja?
Coleman clearly wants Maja to continue building his fitness in the U23 set-up but James Vaughan’s suspension leaves him short of attacking options and as such Maja may well take his place on the bench for the visit of Reading.
It would be just reward for a player who starred in pre-season and looked set to play a pivotal role under Simon Grayson before a serious knee injury struck.
Coleman is right to be cautious with the 18-year-old’s fitness but it would be another boost to the fast improving mood on Wearside if he return to the squad and perhaps even make an impression on the game from the bench.