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Who starts for Newcastle at LB against Sunderland?

If Steve McClaren has a selection problem ahead of the Wear-Tyne Derby, it could be at left back. Who would you prefer to see starting against the makems?

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Steve McClaren has no new injuries to worry about as the Derby draws near, but he may still yet face one of those "selection headaches" that we read about all the time.  It seems likely that he will name a mostly unchanged lineup as we're coming off of our first victory of the season and one in which we scored for fun at that.  We can safely assume that these are locked in:


Janmaat – Mbemba – Coloccini –

Colback – Tiote

Sissoko ––––––––––––– Wijnaldum

Perez – Mitrovic

All but Tiote in this group are pretty well inked in as they should be.  Tiote will likely be preferred to Vurnon Anita at least initially to bring a little alongside Jack Colback in the middle of the park and also to give Lee Clattermole someone to kick that is not necessarily Moussa or Gini.  It can be safely assumed that the Ivorian will be on an extremely short leash, although it does bear noting that Tiote has *not* been carded in the derby more often than he *has* been.

The real selection question becomes: Who starts at left back against Sunderland?

Paul Dummett returned from injury and made his first start of the season against Norwich City, playing 65 minutes before giving way to Massadio Haïdara.  Either of those could potentially start, although it would seem likely that Dummett would again get the nod given that he is still healthy for Sunday.  The real discussion comes as Kevin Mbabu has returned to training and should be available for selection as well, although potentially in much the same way as Dummett was available last week - 60 minutes give or take.  Mbabu impressed greatly in the starts he made at LB in place of Haïdara and Dummett when both were injured (insert half-baked Pedro-Mbabu-pocket joke here) and should figure prominently in McClaren's decisions if he is match-ready.  In the event that Sam Allardyce abandons the tactic that led to both of Norwich's goals on Sunday – namely attacking the Janmaat/Sissoko pairing – the player that does start will have to contend with Seb Larsson and DeAndre Yedlin who will likely be looking for room on the edge to put balls in towards Steven Fletcher and Yann M'Villa.  If Yedlin can capture some of the swashbuckling form that led to his transfer from Seattle Sounders to Tottenham Hotspur, it could be a very long day for the Newcastle LB.

Who do you start?  The player who is perhaps better defensively although not quite as much of a threat moving forward (Dummett)?  The player who is perhaps a little better going forward although not quite as solid on the defensive end (Haïdara)?  Or do you go with Mbabu who seems to have both skills in spades but is just returning from injury?