Sunderland make the trip over to Lancashire on Saturday to face Fleetwood Town, with The Black Cats hopeful of extending their lead at the top of League One.
Lee Johnson’s side have accumulated 15 points from their opening six games of the season, and every game thus far has been against opposition who are currently in the top nine places.
Centre-back Tom Flanagan has played every single minute of the League One season thus far, but he will be suspended on Saturday, opening the door in a winning side.
It appears that the starting spot will be contested by Frederik Alves and Bailey Wright, with Kevin Phillips adamant that the latter will be selected, during an interview with Football Insider.
Wright, who has appeared five times in league action for The Black Cats, has accumulated a mere 38 minutes of third-tier football this season.
Speaking to Football Insider, Phillips believes that Wright will come straight into the side: “100 per cent Wright starts.
“It will be a straight swap.
“Bailey Wright came on at the weekend when they were trying to shut up shop so he’s got minutes under his belt.
“It’s a big blow losing Flanagan because he’s formed a great partnership with Doyle. They really compliment each other well.
“They have an understanding. Their distances are always spot on. They look tight. The back four on the whole look like a good unit.
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As competent of an option Alves is, Wright seems to be the most logical option in this scenario.
The 29-year-old would have been hoping for more game time early this season, especially as he has proven to be an excellent League One defender in recent years, but it is likely that he will be presented with the chance to show his quality.
If he can shine in Flanagan’s absence, then Lee Johnson will have some serious thinking to do.
However, it is a good problem for Johnson to have on his hands, especially when they sit at the third-tier summit.
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