Will Jordan Pickford come straight back into the Sunderland team? David Moyes discusses selection decision

Jordan Pickford is nearing a first team return
Jordan Pickford is nearing a first team return
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David Moyes will welcome the competition in the goalkeeping department when Jordan Pickford returns from injury.

The 22-year-old suffered a cruciate injury at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, a disappointing set-back after a fine run of form.

Vito Mannone, who started the season as the number one keeper, stepped into the fray with mixed success. The Italian looked out of sorts during a period of three successive defeats to Stoke City, West Brom and Burnley.

He improved dramatically to land clean sheets against Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace, and Moyes has insisted that he will not drop players who are performing well.

Moyes said: “Good, I’m glad. Jordan was great and Vito’s played well in the last couple of games. I want competition, I want serious competition.

“All the big clubs have serious competition for their places and if you play well you know that you’ll play again. That’s the way it is.”

It remains to be seen whether Mannone’s performance in the 4-0 defeat to Southampton is enough to see him hold onto his jersey for the trip to Goodison Park.

The 28-year-old had little chance with most of the goals, though he may have been disappointed that Manolo Gabbiadini’s second squirmed underneath him just before half-time.

Pickford returned to full training last week and on Sunday said he should be available for the trip to Goodison Park a week on Saturday.

He has travelled to New York with the rest of the squad and Moyes may be tempted after Saturday’s defeat to return to a player whose form was at times inspirational.

Pickford’s distribution could be crucial for the Black Cats as they look to improve the speed and efficiency of their counter-attack in the absence of Victor Anichebe.