These are the fringe Sunderland players set to start against Port Vale

Sunderland are set to make a number of changes for their Papa John's Trophy clash with Port Vale on Tuesday night.

Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 2:27 pm
Sunderland midfielder Elliot Embleton is set for a big chance to impress on Tuesday evening

The Black Cats will book a place in the quarter-final of the competition with a win, and it's a tournament that Lee Johnson has said he wants to win this season.

Nevertheless, the game will give Johnson and his coaching staff a chance to get a better look at a number of players who have had little gametime in recent weeks.

In the last round, Johnson made a strong side at Oldham Athletic as he looked to build some early momentum and cement some key principles with his first-choice players.

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Assistant head coach Jamie McAllister has said the approach will be slightly different this time around, but stressed that the squad names would be strong enough to secure a result.

"I think it's an important competition for us and it's a game we're going in to win,McAllister said.

"It's going to give some of the lads who've been on the fringes and not had a lot of gametime an opportunity to play and to stake a claim.

"The depth and quality we've got in the squad, the lads who come in are more than capable. We're excited to see them play and it's a great opportunity for them."

Jordan Willis is set to return after illness, with both Dion Sanderson and new signing Carl Winchester cup tied.

The Black Cats are assessing Lee Burge after his eye injury at the weekend, and McAllister confirmed that there could some U23 players named in the squad.

Elliot Embleton is expected to start after impressing Johnson in training of late.

"Elliot Embleton, Dan Neil, a few of the lads have obviously been around the squad as well," McAllister said.

"Oliver Younger was in the squad on Saturday night and we've had Mitchell Curry in the squad previously.

"Josh Hawkes has been doing well, so we've had a few of them in and around it. It's a game we want to win tomorrow and we feel we've got the balance right in terms of both the starting XI and the bench."