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Johnson set for pivotal role in Cats' survival

Adam Johnson could have a significant role to play as Sunderland attempt to drag themselves over the Premier League finishing line at Arsenal (live Sky Sports 1,

kick-off 7.45).

The Black Cats head for the Emirates Stadium this evening a little more than 48 hours after the England international appeared before magistrates to face three offences of sexual activity with a girl under 16 and one of grooming.

Johnson, whose solicitor indicated at Peterlee Magistrates' Court that the player would deny all the charges, is in the squad for the clash with the Gunners, from which a point would be enough to secure his club's top-flight status.

And having seen the impact the 27-year-old made as a substitute against Leicester at the weekend, head coach Dick Advocaat has hinted that the former Middlesbrough and Manchester City winger could start.

Advocaat said: "He's in the squad and when you are in the squad, there's always a chance you will start. This team works so hard and you have to fair to all of them, but Adam is a player who can do something different for us. His style is different from others, and you saw that when he came on against Leicester."