Sunderland are set to face Arsenal in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Sam Allardyce intends to rest some of his key players at the Emirates Stadium, as he has prioritised the Premier League this season.
Sunderland face a huge fight for survival, and Allardyce does not want to risk playing his most important players in cup competition.
As a result, Pickford is set to start the contest ahead of Vito Mannone and Costel Pantilimon.
Pickford is regarded as a fine prospect by Sunderland, and Allardyce believes he will become the club’s number one in the future.
The 21-year-old is yet to make a first team appearance for the Wearsiders, but he has proven his quality while out on loan.
Pickford kept goal for Bradford City in the 2014/15, while he was Preston North End’s first choice stopper for the early part of this campaign.
On both temporary moves he has impressed, and Allardyce believes that the youngster is now ready for more regular action at the Stadium of Light.