Lee Johnson outlines how he will approach selection as Sunderland face latest tests
Lee Johnson is unlikely to make any significant changes to his Sunderland side as they bid to maintain their place at the top of the League One table on Saturday afternoon.
Tom Flanagan is suspended for the trip to Fleetwood Town, with Bailey Wright expected to replace him after a number of important cameos from the substitute's bench in the early stages of the season.
West Ham United loanee Frederik Alves is another option for Johnson, who will then make far more significant changes on Tuesday night.
Sunderland travel to Wigan Athletic looking to book their place in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, before high-flying Bolton Wanderers visit the Stadium of Light next weekend.
Johnson has a number of players, including a raft of summer signings, eager to make an impression and the midweek fixture could present the perfect opportunity.
"We've got options," Johnson said.
"I always try and guard against picking a team before I've finished the last one, but naturally in a week like this where we have three games you want to maximise performance and you recognise there might need to be a balance in who plays when.
"Certain players sort of have the nod already for Tuesday if they are not in the team for Saturday, if that makes sense.
"I think that's understandable given our position in the league and given our priorities this season.
"Whatever team we have in the next three games, I'm sure they'll be really competitive."
Denver Hume will not be involved as he steps up his recovery from a hamstring injury, but Leon Dajaku is pushing for inclusion in the matchday squad.