May 26, 2024

It seems like we’re nearing the point where Wayne Rooney sticks to a consistent lineup for Birmingham City. In his first month as the manager, Rooney has been experimenting with different player combinations, fielding 18 different players in the first four matches and making at least three changes for each game to assess his squad thoroughly.

However, after the promising performance in the recent 2-2 draw with Ipswich Town, it’s expected that there won’t be significant alterations for the upcoming game against Sunderland. With Krystian Bielik suspended, Rooney is likely to continue with Jordan James and Ivan Sunjic in midfield. Ethan Laird’s return has been impactful, as Blues haven’t conceded a goal with him on the pitch this season. The defense, including Laird, is expected to remain unchanged. The main uncertainties lie in the forward positions, where Rooney has been experimenting the most.

Given Sunderland’s likely inexperienced central defensive duo, Jay Stansfield and Oliver Burke could continue up front. The formation might stick to the 4-2-2-2 used against Ipswich, or revert to the 4-3-3 from Rooney’s initial three matches. If adjustments are made, Siriki Dembele and Lukas Jutkiewicz are potential inclusions, with Jutkiewicz offering a physical presence against Sunderland’s new defensive pairing, although he may not press as effectively as Stansfield or Burke.

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