As Sunderland’s search for a new manager continues, it seems increasingly likely that Robbie Stockdale will be in charge for Saturday’s clash against Millwall.
His selection against Middlesbrough couldn’t deliver a much-needed result, so what changes will he be considering this time around?
Move Ndong back into the middle
Stockdale, then alongside Billy McKinlay, sprung a surprise with his selection at the Riverside, putting the energetic Didier Ndong on the right wing.
He had the freedom to roam across the pitch and pressure the Boro midfield, and he was certainly one of the better performers before an injury forced his substitution in the second half.
The Gabon international impressed intermittently but he was missed in the centre of midfield where Sunderland looked pedestrian throughout.
His form has been a disappointment for much of the season but he remains the best option in a crucial area and, with the onus on Sunderland to get on the front foot at home, it would be a serious surprise to see him back out on the flank again.
Recall Duncan Watmore
The 23-year-old missed out last time after picking up a slight niggle.
Sunderland’s struggles this season forced him straight back into first team action and after such a long lay-off it was likely that a rest would be needed at some stage.
His direct running was a big miss for the Black Cats, particularly given that Aiden McGeady’s form has dropped on the other flank.
Callum McManaman has struggled to make an impact so far and despite a Checkatrade Trophy appearance in the break, a recall for Watmore is surely a must.
Start with McNair and Williams
Stockdale went with his most experienced central midfield pairing at the Riverside, with Darron Gibson and Lee Cattermole sitting deep to try and protect the back four.
Both were disappointing again and have struggled this season.
Jonny Williams has been a frustration due to injuries and Paddy McNair struggled in advanced role against Boro, but Sunderland need to mix things up to lift the crowd and playing the pair alongside Ndong is their best chance of getting on the front foot and controlling the game against a hungry Millwall side.