Sunderland return to action in the Championship tonight as Tony Mowbray‘s side travel to face Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
The Black Cats beat Reading 1-0 at the Stadium of Light in their last match in the division and now have the chance to record back-to-back wins for the first time in 2023.
Patrick Roberts scored the only goal against the Royals on Saturday, finding the net in the 84th minute, and it will be interesting to see whether or not the head coach rotates his line-up.
Sunderland have a busy run of fixtures coming up, with midweek assignments this week and next, and Mowbray may look to utilise his squad to avoid burnout and stave off any further injuries.
Will Isaac Lihadji start against QPR?
One player who could benefit from the manager potentially deciding to rotate his starting XI is January signing Isaac Lihadji, as the French winger could be unleashed for his first start in a Sunderland shirt.
Mowbray must bring in the talented attacker and offer him an opportunity to showcase his quality as part of the starting line-up, whilst also allowing Jack Clarke to catch a breather on the bench.
Should Isaac Lihadji start?
The former Tottenham speedster did not have his best afternoon against Reading as he lost ten of his 13 individual duels, created just one chance and failed to manage a single shot or dribble in 80 minutes (as per Sofascore).
Clarke has started 28 of the club’s 30 Championship matches so far this season and could benefit from being named on the bench tonight after the heavy load placed on his legs over the course of the campaign so far.
The 5 foot 9 French wizard, who Jacek Kulig described as “explosive“, must now be unleashed in place of the Englishman, as he could be a big threat out wide. French insider @treize013 told the Roker Report that the maestro can “ignite the stadium” with his play on the ball, and Lihadji’s statistics for Lille in 2021/22 back that up.
In 13 Ligue 1 appearances last term, including two starts, the 20-year-old provided one goal and four assists for Les Dogues, which was an impressive return given his young age and lack of starts.
Therefore, the dynamo could be an exciting player for Sunderland supporters to watch against QPR tonight if Mowbray decides to unleash him, and that is why the head coach must consider bringing the French talent into the starting XI.