Revealed! This is how Lee Johnson will approach Sunderland selection for Mansfield Town FA Cup tie plus Arbenit Xhemajli update

Lee Johnson says he will pick a 'strong team' with the aim of securing progression in the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, 6th November 2021, 9:56 am
Sunderland boss Lee Johnson

Sunderland face Nigel Clough' s Mansfield Town on Saturday after a poor run of results in the league, and with the club's schedule increasingly packed due to progression in other competitions.

Johnson says he is likely to hand a rest to some players who have been carrying some minor knocks of late, and there will be a handful of academy players in the squad.

But the head coach was clear that his side will be recognisable to supporters, and one that will be strong enough to try and seal a place in the second round.

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"You've got players like Ollie [Younger], Ellis [Taylor], Will [Harris], Stephen [Wearne], who have been with us recently," Johnson said.

"They'll be in and about the squad.

"But there will be a lot of senior players, we will pick a strong team there's absolutely no doubt about that. It won't be a weak team.

"I'll pick the best team to go and win it.

"We have had a couple playing with bumps and bruises, so it might be an opportunity to give those a rest.

"But we would do that in any scenario.

"To be brutally truthful, if you wrote off the cup competitions this year we would have more energy for the league, wouldn't we?There's no doubting that," he added.

"But you want to win games, and when you pick a team, I don't care if it's 5-a-side, tiddlywinks, the FA Cup, the Papa John's, once you're there, there's a fanbase watching you, you want to win. Simple as that.

"I want to create a winning environment and players want to feel like they're contributing to all levels of the club.

"That's what we're doing.

"We're doing so many good things and that shouldn't be written off because of what's happened in the last nine days."

Arbenit Xhemajli will not be involved on Saturday as he continues his comeback from a major knee injury, though he could play some part when the Black Cats welcome Bradford City for their final Papa John's Trophy group game on Tuesday night.