Three ways injury-ravaged Sunderland could line up to try and shock sparkling Wolves

If this was not already Sunderland's toughest test of the season, then a raft of injuries and suspensions have left Chris Coleman with a mountain to climb at Molineux.

Thursday, 7th December 2017, 6:00 pm
James Vaughan.

So what options does he have as he looks to try and pull off one of the shocks of the season so far?

Stick to the plan

(4-1-4-1): Ruiter; Matthews, Browning, O’Shea, Galloway; Gibson; McGeady, Cattermole, Honeyman, Asoro; Grabban

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Coleman has stressed the need to stick to a gameplan and against the numerous attacking threats of Wolves it may be that he decides a sitting midfielder in front of the back four is more important than ever. Darron Gibson struggled in the second half against Reading but played this role reasonably well against Aston Villa and Sunderland’s approach to this contest will be similar.

The Sunderland boss would then have a choice whether to move George Honeyman out wide and get Lynden Gooch’s energy in the centre of the park, or reward Joel Asoro (pictured) with a start.

If he does, he will need to show discipline off the ball and good ball retention.

Bolster the defence

(5-3-2): Ruiter; Matthews, Wilson, Browning, O’Shea, Galloway; Honeyman, Cattermole, Gooch; Vaughan, Grabban

Coleman had great success with three at the back in charge of Wales but Simon Grayson’s attempts to use it with Sunderland this season were a disaster. In particular, he may be very reluctant to leave space in behind for the superb Ivan Cavaleiro to exploit. This would, however, give him the chance to play James Vaughan alongside Lewis Grabban while keeping enough bodies in central areas to prevent Sunderland being overrun.

The other option would be to match Wolves’ 3-4-3 directly by playing McGeady and Gooch in front of Matthews and Galloway.

Attack the best form of defence

(4-4-2): Ruiter; Matthews, Browning, O’Shea, Galloway; Honeyman, Gooch, Cattermole, McGeady; Grabban, Vaughan

Perhaps Sunderland’s best chance of getting something out of the game is try and make sure they get on the scoresheet themselves. However, the capitulation to Reading shows the need for much greater energy in midfield and so should Coleman go down this route a recall for Gooch is an absolutely necessity.