Oxford United v Sunderland AFC team news: These three players have the biggest point to prove tonight
What better week than Halloween for Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson to put an end to the club’s Jekyll and Hyde form?
A dream at home but a nightmare on the road, the Black Cats’ automatic promotion hopes are dwindling unless they drastically improve away from home.
But, having had a rollercoaster 10-days to assess his squad, Parkinson has hinted at significant changes as the Black Cats travel to Oxford tonight.
Here are three potential changes that Parkinson could play to cure Sunderland’s increasingly serious travel sickness.
Contract rebel Kimpioka has been vocal about his desire for first-team football, though there has been little progress over a new deal.
And the youngster promises to deliver more of the one ingredient which has worked for Parkinson so far: pace.
With Kimpioka having been sparingly used under Jack Ross, Parkinson has been keen to involve the pacy forward, calling him off the bench in each of the last two league games.
And with Kimpioka bringing a sense of the unknown, as well as speed, he could give Sunderland a valuable fear factor two nights before the scariest night of the year.
When the former Hibernian midfielder signed for the Black Cats at the start of last summer, many thought they had signed their next midfield maestro.
With Parkinson still to decide on his strongest starting eleven, McGeouch will have no better opportunity to stake his claim for a starting role in central midfield.
He brings a calm head with a great range of passing, which can help Sunderland to get the ball forward tonight against one of the better attacking sides in League One this season.
The Black Cats’ star man last season, McLaughlin became a fans’ favourite as his heroic performances in goal helped Sunderland to the play-off final.
But after a rough start to this season, McLaughlin has had to watch the emergence of former Coventry stopper Lee Burge from the bench.
Now, with Burge injured, the Scottish international provides an experienced and safe pair of hands, as well as the ambition to keep hold of the number one jersey.