Sunderland youngster Will Harris

The Sunderland players who could be set for a major chance to stake their claims in Papa John's Trophy clash

Sunderland may well have looked to field a youthful side in this first knockout round of the Papa John’s Trophy anyway.

By Phil Smith
Monday, 29th November 2021, 1:17 pm

But the recent injury crisis surely makes it inevitable that Lee Johnson will rotate relatively significantly when Oldham Athletic visit the Stadium of Light on Wednesday night.

He has limited options in some key positions, and will be eager to protect the senior players he does have available for a crucial month of league fixtures.

The Black Cats are eager to launch a defence of their trophy, and strong results in the group stages despite significant changes will give Johnson confidence that he can land a positive result while the league remains the overarching priority.

So who could be set for a big opportunity to impress - and press their claims for more regular involvement in the coming weeks? Given a lack of options at full back and central midfield in particular, a number of players will sense opportunity.

We take a closer look…

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