Sunderland - West Bromwich Albion: Who will start for the Black Cats?

Sunderland face West Brom this weekend in a must-win game but who will be lining up for them?

Sunderland - West Bromwich Albion: Who will start for the Black Cats?
Photo source: Daily Mirror

It seems like this statement gets uttered every week these days but Sunderland's tie with West Brom this weekend is another 'must-win' game.

After the 1-1 draw in the Tyne/Wear derby, who will return and who will remain in Sam Allardyce's starting XI?

The certainties

A handful of players have stood out in recent weeks and will most definitely be on the teamsheet. Jermain Defoe will lead the attack, whilst Vito Mannone will order from the opposite end of the field.

New addition Jan Kirchhoff has made the defensive midfield role his own since signing in January and he will more than likely start there once again this weekend, unless Allardyce opts for a more attacking system.

Fellow new signings Wahbi Khazri and Lamine Kone have been mightily impressive since arriving on Wearside and are both expected to start in their respective positions.

Forgetting old friends

There will be a few familiar faces returning to the Stadium of Light this weekend. Both Stephane Sessegnon and Craig Gardner enjoyed fruitful spells at Sunderland and I'm sure they will receive a warm welcome back if they start on Saturday.

Billy Jones will also be up against his old teammates if he manages to shake off his latest injury. He may not be passed fit in time for the game.

Eboue leaves Sunderland without playing a single game. | Source: Sunderland AFC
Eboue leaves Sunderland without playing a single game. | Source: Sunderland AFC

Eboue sacking

One man who will definitely not be featuring this weekend is Emmanuel Eboue. The Ivorian was sacked earlier this week after FIFA banned him for failing to pay his former agent. He did not manage to make a single appearance for the club.

Allardyce did however leave the door open to a possible return for Eboue, claiming if the situation was all resolved quickly, there might be a way back into the team for the ex-Arsenal man.

Eboue will get his football ban revoked if he pays his former agent in full.