Sunderland travel to Bury in the final tie of the Carabao Cup’s first round hoping that their title hopes are buried at the first hurdle.
These sides met in pre season with a 2-0 win to the Shakers. Will things be different this time around?
Bury are definitely without Jay O’Shea, who picked up a medial ligament injury and joins Eoghan O’Connell (knee) and Nathan Cameron (issues) on sidelines.
Sunderland will be missing Paddy McNair and Donald Love with injury woes. Midfielder, Jack Rodwell is still struggling with a pre season injury whilst Bryan Oviedo is yet to resume training.
Robbin Ruiter is however expected to make his debut, having missed out against Derby County.
Old faces reunite
On paper, this tie looks to be Sunderland’s to lose but Bury are no pushovers as a few faces meet again.
Sunderland’s James Vaughan was Bury’s star player last season. Given that he lined up for them last month in their 2-0 win before signing for the opposition, could this play into the home team’s hands?
Jermain Beckford joined the Shakers this summer, having played under Simon Grayson when they were at Preston North End together. That will benefit Bury more because Beckford knows how Grayson plays meaning that his knowledge will be key here for Lee Clark.
This coupled with Vaughan’s connections makes the tie complex because there are so many potential threads that could decide the match winner making knowledge a key component in how both sides approach the game.
For Mackem fans, this might feel like Deja Vu given that this fixture has been played in the League Cup before.
22nd August 2006 saw Bury dump Sunderland out of the League Cup second round admist boardroom issues for the Black Cats. Flash forward 11 years and they are back in that situation minus needing a manager.
After a wretched pre season, the Black Cats made steps forward against Derby County last Friday night. If they can keep that progress going with just a few changes, expect them to be favourites.
A positive omen that Sunderland fans can cling to is the fact Tuesday saw Accrington beat Preston, having lost to them in pre season by same score line.
With that in mind and extra strength now available, I think the Wearside fans will be celebrating victory come final whistle.
Prediction: Bury 0-2 Sunderland
Result: Bury 0-1 Sunderland