We know that Jordan Willis is certain to start as Ross looks to get him fully up to speed ahead of the new season.
His schedule is meticulous in carefully managing minutes so that every player gets the time on the pitch they need.
With that in mind, there a few players certain to get a longer outing, and a big opportunity, this evening….
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Ross wants Hume to make the left back spot his own this season and he’ll be first choice when the season starts.
Has had a quiet but solid time of it so far.
The new shape Sunderland are currently trying should be absolutely perfect for him and this is an opportunity to show it.
Has looked completely capable of making an impression this season.
He should have scored against South Shields but looked assured, while his pass for Duncan Watmore was one of the moments of the contest against Benfica B.
A longer cameo against good-quality opposition is a big chance for him to build on it and underline how fast his game has developed.
With Aberdeen and Hibernian signing new defensive midfielders, Ross looks to have succeeded in his battle to keep the Scot.
He looked driven against Benfica B in a very short spell, dropping typically deep to show for the ball and start moves, but also pressing well and looking to play with a real tempo.
They were brief but encouraging signs.
With Jack Baldwin getting 90 minutes under his belt, tonight should see a longer workout for Flanagan.
Sunderland’s most consistent centre-back last year, his leadership and vocal style is something always noticeable when he does play.
If Ross persists with three at the back, he has a good chance of lining up alongside Willis if he can impress in the next couple of games
Ross has been careful with Watmore but is also determined to keep breaking barriers, and a longer spell on the pitch tonight would seem sensible after a bright cameo on Thursday.