Journalist James Copley has questioned whether Sunderland ace Amad Diallo will be handed a rare rest in the FA Cup this week.
The Lowdown: Mowbray must manage his squad effectively
Sunderland have an intriguing FA Cup replay against Premier League opposition Fulham this Wednesday as it will be welcome to test themselves against a side from the division above, but it also allows fewer days to rest and recover for the weekend.
The Black Cats will likely be excited about welcoming top-flight opposition to the Stadium of Light – something that’s been very rare in recent years following their slide down the divisions – and with a young and exciting squad, they may well fancy their chances.
Tony Mowbray already has one big selection headache to make with Joe Gelhardt cup-tied, and with him being their only striker, someone is likely going to have to play as a false 9. While it’s something Diallo has done this season, he’s been very impressive out wide, showing how ‘gifted‘ he is in those wider roles, so it could be a waste to move him centrally.
The Latest: Diallo could miss out
While speaking on The Roar podcast, Copley raised the question as to whether Diallo may be rested against Fulham to ensure he’s fit for Sunderland’s Championship clash against Reading this weekend.
He said: “It’s a big question for Tony Mowbray.
“There’s no real natural fix. Max Thompson, it’s a bit of a big game to even have him on the bench, really.
“Do you think Sunderland just go with a false 9, Amad floating around, or would you maybe give him a break as well? It’s such a tough one.”
The Verdict: Sunderland should be looking to claim a scalp
While it’s fair enough for Copley to be thinking about the league as that’s the most important thing for Sunderland this season as they look to secure back-to-back promotions and end up in the Premier League, given that Ross Stewart is out for the rest of the season and Mowbray has just one striker in the form of Gelhardt to call upon, it may be unlikely the Black Cats are able to mount a serious play-off push.
Therefore, Mowbray should set his side out this midweek to take the game to Fulham and try to pick up a memorable victory which would certainly show they could perhaps hold their own in the top flight in the near future.