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The Black Cats have made good progress since the end of last season, making a few decent signings and putting in the sort of battling performances few expected of them, not least Darron Gibson!
They did lose to Yorkshire opposition last time out in the league though, a 0-2 reverse at home to Leeds a rather low moment for them and they could do without a similar scoreline here at Oakwell. Simon Grayson is likely to stick with his 4-4-2 formation, deploying the following troops:
Filling in the gap nicely since the departure of Jordan Pickford and should start between the sticks again.
Well capable of getting forward from right-back and can provide some valuable support to Honeyman as well as being required to remain defensively strong.
The young Everton loanee has been a positive but badly needs this education. Hopefully he remains strong in the face of another difficult away atmosphere.
Still trusted by Simon Grayson, if less so by Darron Gibson, the centre-back can start again in what looks a very settled XI.
The other on-loan Everton man’s strength will be getting forward from left-back but, just like Jones on the other side, is likely to be needed defensively here.
The young man has done well since being given his head in this position, supporting Jones at the back could be the order of the day here.
Solid if unspectacular, Ndong does an effective job in the middle and needs to be strong and disciplined this time.
Clearly no longer capable in the Premier League but reasonable enough at this level, so long as he keeps his head and keeps things simple he’ll warrant his place in the side.
A quality signing who has not yet shown his very best form, games like this one were no problem for him last year and he will be Sunderland’s biggest danger.
Striking up a good understanding with Vaughan and can use his pace to good effect against this Barnsley defence. The centre-backs may well be able to keep tabs on Vaughan but Grabban’s movement could be key.
Has proven already that given the chances, he will score so should have no trouble in keeping his place in the starting line-up for the foreseeable future.