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Sunderland: Predicted XI vs Wigan



Sunderland will be looking to continue their fine recent form and close in on the Championship playoffs when they take on Wigan Athletic on Thursday evening.

Tony Mowbray’s side moved to within one point of the playoff places in the second tier with a 2-1 triumph over Blackburn Rovers on Boxing Day and will be confident of another three points against a struggling Wigan side, who are yet to show many signs of improvement under new manager Kolo Toure.

Unfortunately for the Black Cats, defensive injuries are plaguing the squad which could make things for Mowbray over the extremely busy Christmas and New Year period, so changes will be necessary for the trip to the DW Stadium.

Here is how Football FanCast expects Mowbray to line his side up on Thursday evening, with three changes from the team that started against Blackburn last time out.

Anthony Patterson is the only Sunderland player to have featured in every game so far this season and he seems unlikely to lose his place in between the sticks against Wigan.

With Denis Cirkin and Lyndon Gooch both ruled out of the trip to Lancashire through injuries picked up against Blackburn, changes will be necessary at full-back, so Trai Hume gets the nod on the right, while the versatile Luke O’Nien moves over to the left from centre-back.

With centre-backs Ajibola Alese and Danny Batth also missing through injury, Bailey Wright looks likely to return to the starting 11 alongside Daniel Ballard in the heart of Mowbray’s defence.

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Corry Evans and Dan Neil have impressed in recent fixtures in the middle of the park, and with Elliot Embleton also sidelined, it seems almost certain that they will continue their partnership there against Wigan.

Mowbray may consider switching back to a 4-4-2 in order to accommodate the Boxing Day matchwinner Ellis Simms into the team, so Jack Clarke starts on the left and Amad Diallo moves to the right, with the “magic” Patrick Roberts the man to miss out.

Ross Stewart has scored in each of the last two games, including one in his own end against Blackburn, so will be looking to continue his fine form with another effort against Wigan, partnering the similarly-dangerous Simms in the Sunderland attack.

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