Fit-again Adam Johnson is in line for an opportunity against former club Manchester City tonight, as Dick Advocaat looks for a better balance between attack and defence.
Advocaat will opt against making wholesale changes for the Capital One Cup third round clash against the Premier League leaders, yet one player who could be given an opportunity is Johnson.
The winger returned to action as a substitute at Bournemouth on Saturday after a month out with a dislocated shoulder and is in contention to occupy one of the two wide roles in Advocaat’s front three tonight.
After the 2-0 loss at Dean Court, Advocaat pondered whether his line-up was too attack-minded, with Fabio Borini the only member of the front four who will naturally track back and lend a helping hand defensively.
Johnson would offer more protection, with Advocaat admitting he is still looking for the final couple of components in his strongest starting XI.
Meanwhile, Sebastian Coates has been ordered to show some aggression after the former Liverpool defender’s shaky start to the season.
Coates will get another chance in the Sunderland starting XI in tonight’s Capital One Cup third round clash against Manchester City, with fellow centre-half Younes Kaboul missing through suspension.
Finally, Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat insists he has ‘no regrets’ about shelving his retirement plans and returning to the club in the summer.
And the Dutch head coach has revealed he would walk away from Sunderland if he did not feel he was the right man for the job – but he has no intention of doing so.
Sunderland are bottom of the Barclays Premier League after failing to win any of their opening six matches in the top flight, the latest defeat coming at Bournemouth on Saturday.
The Black Cats boss is looking for a reaction from his players when they take on Manchester City in the third round of the Capital One Cup at the Stadium of Light tonight.