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Mike Dodds explains his surprise Sunderland selection decisions and drops early QPR hint

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Adil Aouachiche was unlucky not to start against Southampton, according to Mike Dodds, but he was hesitant to bench Chris Rigg following his strong showing against Leicester City.

Aouchiche impressed from the bench against the Foxes, and many anticipated that he would start for Sunderland. He contributed to the team’s second-half comeback, which saw them momentarily overcome a two-goal deficit in the 4-2 loss to Southampton.

Another unexpected move by the temporary head coach was the promotion of Mason Burstow to the starting lineup, with Nazariy Rusyn once more coming on as a second-half substitute. Aouchiche in particular, according to Dodds, was unlucky not to start, but in the end, Rigg—who had looked excellent during his entire Championship debut—and the French midfielder had the final say.

“I just thought Riggy deserved another chance because of how well he performed in midweek. Whether to leave Riggy in and give him a break or to take him out was up to me. It was ultimately up to me to decide that he should remain inside.

He continued, “I felt that when Naz came on, his enthusiasm and energy added to what we were attempting to do.”

“Adil and Naz have pushed ahead for next weekend; we still need to prepare and work hard for QPR, but they give themselves every chance by playing like they did from the start.”

Having sustained a hamstring injury in the loss at St Mary’s, Dan Ballard will have an evaluation this coming week, so Dodds does not anticipate any of his injured players returning for QPR’s visit.

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