Sunderland will travel to the Oakwell Stadium to take on second-placed Barnsley in a League One encounter. The season has come in its final lap and both the teams would treat this game like a Cup final. The Black Cats are trailing Barnsley by four points having played a game less, and it would be a perfect opportunity for the away side to get back in a good place to reclaim the direct promotion spots.
Jack Ross’ men failed to go past Wycombe over the weekend as a late strike could only help them earn a draw. However, a positive result against their direct promotion rivals in this midweek game can give them a massive boost for the rest of the season. Barnsley are going to take some beating as they have lost just once in their last 17 games in all competitions (The loss came against Premier League outfit Burnley in the FA Cup).
Chris Maguire is out due to injury. Bryan Oviedo should be close to coming back as he has started training, but it seems unlikely that he will make the matchday squad. Donald Love is another absentee. George Honeyman is going to miss out due to suspension as he was involved in a brawl in the end against Wycombe.
Sunderland predicted lineup Vs Barnsley
Jon McLaughlin is a crucial member of the side as he has put on some impressive displays in goal to help his side. The Scotsman will be trusted to start in between the sticks once again. Burnley loanee Jimmy Dunne is the first choice starter since his arrival, and he is set to be partnered by Tom Flanagan in central defence.
With Oviedo’s injury concerns, Reece James is undoubtedly going to start as a left back. Luke O’Nien continues to impress as a right back even though he is a midfielder by trade.
The experienced duo of Lee Cattermole ad Grant Leadbitter should start once again in the middle of the park. Max Power hasn’t done much wrong, but in games of these nature, the manager is likely to go with his experienced options.
Lewis Morgan has shown some bright sparks, and he is expected to operate from the right. Lynden Gooch is likely to replace Honeyman in the attacking midfielder role. The experienced Aiden McGeady is expected to play on the left flank.
Sunderland’s big money January signing Will Grigg should start as the man up front.
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