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Advocaat to hand Johnson Sunderland start

Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat is set to hand Adam Johnson a start against Stoke City.

The Daily Star says Advocaat will assess Johnson's mental state before announcing his team.

But with striker Steven Fletcher ruled out with an ankle injury - possibly for the rest of the season - and Seb Larsson banned, he has few options.

Johnson has started on the bench in all three games since Advocaat took charge but while he refused to confirm the 27-year-old could play, the coach revealed that he is under serious consideration despite events off the pitch.

"Adam Johnson is available and I have no doubt about his sharpness," said Advocaat, whose side need to bounce back from their 4-1 mauling at home against Crystal Palace.

"He is in the squad so I consider him for selection.

"He has trained but not every day so I've got a decision to make."

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