Kone v Lukaku and can Moyes find a supersub? The key areas as Sunderland take on Everton

Kone will have to be at his best on Saturday
Kone will have to be at his best on Saturday
Have your say

Sunderland face a daunting trip to Goodison Park as they look to stay in touch with their relegation rivals.

So where is this contest going to be won and lost? We picked out three key areas...

1 Will the extra defender help stop Lukaku?

The key to this game may well be whether we see the Lamine Kone who was inspirational against Crystal Palace or the slack defender who floundered against the clever movement of Manolo Gabbiadini.

The physicality of Romelu Lukaku suits Kone better, but the Belgian is in-form and his awareness is superb. He undid the Black Cats in brutal fashion earlier this season, preying on Papy Djilobodji’s poor positioning with a blistering 11 minute hat-trick.

Djilobodji serves the final game of his suspension on Saturday, so will a more experienced backline and the third centre-half help keep it tight?

2 Can Pickford bring some much needed magic?

Fit again, the smart money is on Jordan Pickford coming back into the side.

That is no reflection on Vito Mannone’s recent performances, which have been consistent since his struggle against Stoke, but Pickford is the only player in the squad other than Jermain Defoe who can win points on his own.

Everton are likely to create plenty of chances and a world class save or two will be required. Pickford is more than capable of pulling it off.

3 Can Sunderland force the issue late on?

Too often in the last month Sunderland’s weak bench has left the manager with few options to change the course of the game or make a significant alteration to his tactics.

He had a stronger bench against Southampton but by his own admission throwing on his attacking players only further weakened the lack of structure.

Jan Kirchhoff’s imminent return to the squad offers a very different type of midfield option, so can Moyes use him to make a difference.

Everton’s young blood on the bench will stretch a tiring Black Cats squad late on so fresh legs will be needed to shore things up.