Joe Nicholson believes Trai Hume could be in line to start again for Sunderland this Sunday.
The Lowdown: Fiesty encounter expected
Sunderland are set to welcome their local rivals Middlesbrough to the Stadium of Light this week with not only bragging rights up for grabs this weekend but also a huge three points that could catapult one of them right into play-off contention.
The Black Cats are coming into this game off the back of a home defeat at the hands of Swansea City, although they did play the majority of the game with just 10 men due to Luke O’Nien’s reckless tackle.
Despite having to bide his time since joining Sunderland last January, Hume now appears to be very comfortable at the Stadium of Light having been labelled ‘so composed‘ and ‘athletic‘ in recent times since he started to get a consistent run of starts under Tony Mowbray, so he should have a great chance of starting his first Tees-Wear derby.
The Latest: Hume to continue his run of starts
Hume has certainly had to wait patiently but he’s started the last three games now and Nicholson has claimed on The Roar podcast the youngster could be handed a vote of confidence by Mowbray and start once more in a high-pressure side.
He said: (16:50) “There’s quite a few interesting matchups that are going to be on the pitch on Sunday. You mentioned there, [Ryan] Giles on the left and he’ll probably come up against probably Patrick Roberts and then Trai Hume might start at right back for Sunderland.”
The Verdict: Must-win game for Sunderland
Boro are certainly going into the game as favourites given they sit fourth in the table and have lost once in their last 10 league games, however, with a likely sold-out Stadium of Light rocking and one of the league’s top strikers in Stewart within their ranks, Sunderland will fancy their chances.
The Black Cats know that a win would put them firmly in the hunt for a play-off berth, however defeat and it could show why they aren’t quite ready for those sorts of heights and targets.
Mowbray knows a win will be a huge statement of intent against a local rival and a team that’s been a mainstay in this division for a number of years, but with such a young squad consisting of players such as Hume, Roberts, Amad Diallo and Jack Clarke, it will be a test of not only their ability but also their character.
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