In Championship play this Saturday, Sunderland will be keen to defeat Plymouth Argyle on the road. Should the Baggies falter against Suffolk Town in the evening, the Black Cats may potentially capture a crucial three points at the cost of Carlos Corberan’s West Bromwich Albion.

With Sunderland now leading on goal differential and West Brom right below Tony Mowbray’s playoff chasers in seventh place, the Black Cats’ offensive prowess gives them a little advantage in this early-season battle for the last playoff slot.

Championship playoff race
6th – Sunderland: 26 points, GD: +10
7th – West Brom: 26 points, GD +9
8th – Hull City: 26 points, GD +3

Sunderland must not underestimate Plymouth this Saturday, though, since the Pilgrims will be playing at Home Park. Steven Schumacher’s team has won four of their past eight home games in the Championship after winning League One at the end of the previous season.

Prior to this game in Devon, Mowbray will have to decide who starts at center back because, despite the win, teenage defender Jenson Seelt did not perform well in the 3-1 home victory over Birmingham City.

Jenson Seelt’s numbers vs Birmingham

The 20-year-old, who was acquired from PSV Eindhoven in the summer in order to bolster the defense, has displayed nervousness when beginning this season for Mowbray.

This was especially noticeable when playing Birmingham, but to the relief of the ardent Stadium of Light supporters, his subpar performance had little effect on the outcome for his team.

With barely half of his duels won overall, Seelt was a bad opponent for the Blues’ attackers, according to Sofascore.

To make up for Seelt’s subpar performance, his defensive teammate Trai Hume won six of his nine ground duels during the game.

As a result, following the game, journalist Andy Tomlinson of the Roker Report rated Seelt a 5 out of 10, stating that the game’s tempo was “too much” for the 20-year-old to handle.

Jobe Bellingham might get a rest for Sunderland’s upcoming away Championship game against Plymouth Argyle in Devon.
Because senior center-back Luke O’Nien will be returning from suspension and ready to play, it is possible that the former PSV young player won’t make Mowbray’s starting lineup for the trip to Devon.

Luke O’Nien as Seelt’s replacement

Throughout his career, O’Nien has primarily played as a defensive midfielder or central midfielder. Under Mowbray, he has flourished, starting even farther back in the defense this season.

O’Nien’s own impatience may prove to be his downfall; he was unable to participate in the Birmingham victory after receiving his fifth yellow card of the campaign against Swansea. Nevertheless, the Black Cats supporters adore the dedication and will displayed by Sunderland’s number 13 when he plays.

In the Swansea 0-0 draw, O’Nien’s skill with the ball—which has seen him play centrally under Mowbray—also showed even from the back, as he won four of his five aerial duels.

The captain of Sunderland was precise in both of his crosses into the Swans area that day, trying throughout the day to breach a resilient defense even as he performed his routine defensive duties.

To give Seelt a break and make sure Sunderland is rock solid against Schumacher’s Argyle, Mowbray may decide to start the former Wycombe Wanderers player over his promising Dutch defender for a challenging test away at the Pilgrims.