Michael O'Neill’s Liam Delap call as Stoke boss delivers verdict on Sunderland ahead of Championship fixture

Stoke boss Michael O'Neill says new signing Liam Delap will be in contention to start against Sunderland at the bet365 Stadium.

The 19-year-old forward, son of former Stoke and Sunderland player Rory, signed for the Potters on a season-long loan deal from Manchester City this week despite interest from multiple clubs.

Stoke have taken four points from their opening four league games this season, with Dwight Gayle, Tyrese Campbell and Jacob Brown also providing competition up front.

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Asked if Delap is likely to start against Sunderland, O’Neill replied: “Well, he's only been in the building for two days. We have to manage him. He's not played a lot of minutes in pre-season but a young player can probably handle that situation, maybe their enthusiasm for the game supersedes that.

Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

“He's got a chance of starting, we have to look at that possibility. We also look at the fact we've got Campbell, Brown, Gayle who has played two weeks already. Those are all factors when you pick your starting XI.”

Stoke drew 2-2 with Middlesbrough last time out, while their only win of the campaign so far came at home against Blackpool.

O’Neill’s side are also set to be without several senior players against Sunderland, including Nick Powell, Josh Tymon, Josh Laurent, Harry Clarke and Harry Souttar.

When asked about facing Sunderland, O’Neill said: “It'll be another game when it'll be tight. They've stepped up and had a good start for a promoted side as well.

“Everyone knows that Sunderland are a big club who will come with a big away support. It should make for a vociferous afternoon and a competitive game.

“For us, we have to focus on this is our third game at home. We've had a win and a draw at home. It's an opportunity to put another three points on the board.

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“There were aspects of the performance we can do better in on Wednesday night but when we look back at the game against Blackpool too we have a chance to take seven points from our first three games at home, which we think is a good return.”