ADVER Sport asked Sunderland Echo sports reporter, Mark Donnelly for his thoughts on the Black Cats ahead of the League One clash this afternoon.

How have Sunderland started the season, performance-wise?

It’s been a solid enough start to the season, although there is still plenty more to come from Phil Parkinson’s side.

That’s especially true in the final third, where goals have proven hard to come by. A strike force of Will Grigg, Danny Graham, Aiden O’Brien and Charlie Wyke should be prolific in the third tier - but the quartet are yet to muster a goal between them.

The goals have mainly come from Sunderland’s more attack-minded midfielders, with Chris Maguire the club’s top scorer as things stand.

But that lack of goals has been compensated for by a water-tight defence, who are still yet to concede from open play this term. That record will come under some pressure this weekend though, given the injury concerns facing Parkinson.

What sort of game plan do you expect Sunderland to implement?

Sunderland, as they have done for much of Phil Parkinson’s reign, will look to press high and take the game to Swindon.

We’ve seen a real focus down the left flank when it comes to attacking in the opening weeks of the season, but that owed much to wing-back Denver Hume who is a doubt for the trip to Wiltshire.

I’d certainly expect Sunderland to play on the front foot and focus on getting deliveries into the box; they rarely sit back and look to counter.

3) Are there any weaknesses in the SAFC squad that Town could take advantage of?

While the defence has been a pillar of strength for the Black Cats this season, injuries have weakened what was a strong and stable back three.

Jordan Willis and Bailey Wright will be fit, but it’s on the left-side where Sunderland’s problems lie - with Tom Flanagan suspended and Arbenit Xhemajli ruled-out for the season.

Luke O’Nien could deputise as a centre back, while Conor McLaughlin may also get the nod after returning from international duty.

As previously mentioned, left wing-back Hume is also out a real doubt for the game and is Sunderland’s only natural option in that position. That could be an area for Swindon to focus on.

Who is/are Sunderland’s most in-form player(s)?

Chris Maguire has been Sunderland’s shining light in an attacking sense, and is capable of delivering those moments of magic that can decide a game.

Behind him, Grant Leadbitter has emerged as a key man in recent weeks and has put in a number of excellent displays in the centre of the park.

Meanwhile, at the heart of defence, Bailey Wright is showing why Sunderland spent a great deal of time tying him down to a permanent deal.

What do you think the score will be?

I’d back Sunderland to continue their unbeaten start to the season, but it could well be a cagey affair given the injuries to both sides.

I’ll go for a 1-0 Sunderland win, with Danny Graham on the scoresheet.