Sunderland welcome Crewe to the Stadium of Light for their League One fixture on Tuesday night. The home side aim to mount the pressure on the top two, whilst the visitors look to cement their solid start to their third tier return.
The Black Cats come into this game on the back of a comfortable 2-0 victory away at Swindon Town, meanwhile The Alex earnt a 1-1 draw with Blackpool last time out.
Sunderland remain injury-stricken early on this season. Tom Flanagan, Morgan Feeney and Arbenit Xhemajli remain out. Jordan Willis, who left the County Ground on crutches at the weekend, could be fit to play.
Denver Hume missed out on Saturday's win, but he is expected to return to the starting lineup. Deadline day signing Dion Sanderson may feature after he trained over the last couple of days.
For Crewe, Omar Beckles and Ryan Wintle return after they had two weeks out due to COVID-19. Mikael Madron is in good form so far this season, he aims to score against his former club on his return to the Stadium of Light. The French striker has three goals in as many games in League One so far.
Burge; Wright, Sanderson, O'Nien; McLaughlin, Dobson, Power, Hume; Gooch, Maguire, Wyke.
Crewe Alexandra: (4-3-3)
Jaaskelainen; Ng, Beckles, Offord, Pickering; Murphy, Wintle, Finney; Dale, Kirk, Mandron.
Sunderland remain unbeaten after what, on paper, was a tricky start to the League One campaign. They are yet to concede from open play, and the only goal they did concede was a penalty in the third minute of the opening fixture against Bristol Rovers.
Three victories from five is a decent return for The Black Cats, though they would like to start scoring more freely to turn those draw into wins.
Crewe have began life bak in the third tier well. They are unbeaten in their last three in the league and will come into this game full of confidence. A 1-1 draw with play-off hopefuls Blackpool leaves them 13th in the table.
What the managers have said
Phil Parkinson updated the media about the injury situation this week when he spoke to the press.
He updated on defenders Denver Hume, Jordan Willis and Tom Flanagan, saying: " Jordan has had a scan and there's no break, so that's good news. It's not as bad as first feared and he's getting better by the day.
Unfortunately, Tom came back from international duty with an ankle problem. He's had it scanned and will see a specialist, so won't play."
Meanwhile, Crewe manager David Artell has spoke of the magnitude of the game from an away side perspective.
"It's going to be a huge challenge for us. Sunderland are a big club, a huge club. I think that everyone has watched the documentary. Hopefully, if they are still filming, they will do part of an episode on us when we come to town and, hopefully, its a positive light from all Crewe fans' perspective."
How to watch
Sunderland vs Crewe Alexandra takes place on Tuesday 20th October at 7pm. Supporters can watch via iFollow or on either club's official website.