David Moyes kindly committed his future to Sunderland yesterday much to the rapturous delight of all Sunderland fans. We all rejoiced in the streets as the dourest man in Sunderland history clarified he intends on continuing to make us hate football. It's not about the Championship just yet, but with relegation confirmed we are set to see many changes in the starting eleven.
Loanees Jason Denayer and Adnan Januzaj may find minutes on the pitch at a premium with it being certain that neither will play for us next year. Moyes may also be tempted to keep those he is keen to sell out of the first team such as Lamine Kone and Fabio Borini.
One man whose position is under no immediate threat is Jordan Pickford and the lack of squad depth means full backs Billy Jones, should he be fit, and Javi Manquillo are also more than likely to start. John O'Shea has been ever present in all of our relegation struggles and that won't change now our fate is sealed, though it's unclear who will partner the Irishman today. Papy Djilobodji is more likely to remain on Wearside next season which could tempt Moyes to bring him in from the start after losing faith in the former Chelsea defender.
With one eye on next season, it would make sense if we gave plenty of game time to those we expect to be part of our promotion attempts. That hopefully means Steven Pienaar is not even considered for a start, though that decision may already be out of Moyes' hands given the South African faces a late fitness test. George Honeyman and Lynden Gooch may well feature prominently in our Championship campaign next year with Seb Larsson set to leave after his contract expires and the unlikelihood that both Didier Ndong and Lee Cattermole will remain Sunderland players. Cattermole remains injured today and Darron Gibson is also a major doubt whilst there remain question marks over Jack Rodwell's groin injury. Unsurprisingly Sunderland are top of the injury table once more.
All of this means our central midfield may look quite different. Ndong is certain to start whilst Honeyman is likely to be given the nod. As much as we'd love to see it not happen, Larsson's return from suspension means he will probably start too.
Up top, Jermain Defoe will continue to play out the last few games of his Sunderland career alongside Victor Anichebe who has disappointed since returning from fitness. Wahbi Khazri will battle with Borini and Januzaj for the final spot and probably just about cling onto it.
It's all immaterial of course as Sunderland saunter to the end of the season and relegation. Cheers Dave. Really pleased you are staying.