A TRIP to Sky Bet League One title favourites Sunderland represents a tough start to the season for Oxford United – here are three Black Cats players who could play a key role at the Stadium of Light.

Jon McLaughlin

Sunderland's goalkeeper was their most consistent performer last season and scooped the supporters' player of the year prize.

In an impressive debut season on Wearside, the 31-year-old made 55 appearances and starred in several matches as the Black Cats lost just five games.

McLaughlin made 16 clean sheets as he pulled off several important saves across the campaign – including in the two 1-1 draws with United.

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Marc McNulty

The ex-Coventry City striker is in contention to make his first start on Saturday, after signing on loan from Reading last month.

He has already made an impact at the Stadium of Light, scoring a hat-trick in a behind closed doors friendly against Hartlepool United on Monday, after impressing off the bench against Dutch side Heerenveen.

But the fact that McNulty's starting place is not confirmed shows the Black Cats' strength in depth in attack, with manager Jack Ross also able to call on Will Grigg and Charlie Wyke.

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Chris Maguire

There is no guarantee Maguire will start, but United fans know as well as anyone that the 30-year-old does not need 90 minutes to change a game.

The ex-U's man has been in and out of the side in pre-season, but some spectacular goals in 2018/19 showed the 30-year-old's enduring ability.

Giving Maguire space to shoot anywhere around the box is dangerous, as last season's play-off semi-final strike against Portsmouth showed.