Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat has admitted playing Jermain Defoe, Jeremain Lens, Fabio Borini and Ola Toivonen together might be “too much”.
The quartet all started the 1-0 home defeat by Tottenham last weekend, although both Borini and Toivonen, who are short of match fitness, were substituted before Ryan Mason notched an impressive late winner.
Advocaat has stressed that his front four need to do their share of defending, but they could all get another chance to impress at Bournemouth as Sunderland aim to grab their first Premier League win of the season.
“Up front we still need everyone to know each other a bit better. With Jermain Defoe, Jeremain Lens, Fabio Borini and Ola Toivonen, we are almost playing with four strikers and that can be too much unless they are all doing their defensive work.
“That needs to happen and if it doesn’t then a team like Spurs can make it difficult for you. I can only find out during games how to develop the squad.”
Adam Johnson, who has been missing with a shoulder problem, will be part of the squad which flies down to the south coast on Friday and Steven Fletcher is also available.
“Adam we had in pre-season so it’s not as if we didn’t have him,” said Advocaat. “The good thing is that when he was injured he could still work with his legs.
“He can change a game if we want to bring him on. Physical-wise he is not 100 per cent, but he can’t play at 100 per cent yet.
“Adam Matthews is still injured, but we don’t have so many after that. Adam Johnson is the squad and we take 19 players with us to Bournemouth, including Johnson and DeAndre Yedlin.
“We have 19 players, one player will not go on the bench and we will try something to try to win the game. Fletcher is fit. The players not in the squad are Graham, Liam Bridcutt, Will Buckley, Watmore, who will probably play for the second team on Sunday.”