Match Preview: Morecambe (H) - New Signings Set For Capital One Cup Debuts

Cup fever hits Morecambe. Symptoms include hair turning into balloons and spontaneous moustache growth.


Let's try this again, shall we?

After all the excitement of Friday, what was meant to be a fervent opening home game was rained on, literally.

Fortunately, the League Cup - or Capital One Cup as it is now known - gives Sunderland the chance to rekindle those feelings, ones that usually do not correspond with Sunderland and Cup competitions, but Martin O'Neill and his new recruits have seen to that.

So, before heading to the Stadium tonight make sure you get the lowdown on tonight's match...

Sunderland Team News

The Black Cats remain ‘as you were' on the injury front, but the postponed Premier League fixture with Reading on Saturday means that the first home game of the season should host not one, but two debuts. Adam Johnson's transfer had not been completed in time for him to feature last weekend, but both he and Steven Fletcher are expected to be handed bows despite the Scottish striker's lack of fitness.

Johnson's capability to play on either flank provides Martin O'Neill with a pleasant conundrum, but Sebastian Larsson is the one expected to make way from Sunderland's midfield. Should Fletcher not be risked from the start, then fellow new boy Louis Saha will make his full debut.

Morecambe Team News

Captain Will Haining is available after sitting out on the weekend. The Scottish defender should be fully recovered after picking up a knock against York City and should replace Nick Fenton in the starting line-up.

Sunderland fan Richard Brodie is expected to again lead the line, flanked by Lewis Alessandra and the evergreen Kevin Ellison, who scored the Shrimps' only goal in the defeat to Port Vale on Saturday.

Predicted Lineups

Sunderland: Mignolet; Gardner, Cuellar, O'Shea, Richardson; Johnson, Cattermole, Colback, McClean; Sessegnon, Fletcher

Morecambe: Roche; Parrish, McCready, Haining, Threlfall; Wright, Drummond, Fleming; Alessandra, Brodie, Ellison

Recent Form: WWWDL

Win: Morecambe 2-1 Carlisle United (McCready 50, Carlton 80; Robson 75)

Win: Blackpool 1-2 Morecambe (Baptiste 77; Alessandra 6, Fleming 56)

Win: Exeter City 0-3 Morecambe (Fleming 14, 24, Reid 32)

Draw: Morecambe 2-2 York City (Brodie 53, Drummond 74; Smith 58, Chambers 86)

Loss: Morecambe 1-3 Port Vale (Ellison 32; Morsy 1, McCombe 89, Pope 90)

Last Time Round: N/A

In addition to seeing our two new signings for the first time, it is also the first time that Sunderland fans will be able to see their side face Morecambe - all the more reason to get yourself to the SoL.

The Ref: Robert Madley

Another first, as it will be the first time Madley has refereed Sunderland. He has seemingly served his officiating apprenticeship, as his only game thus far this season was Saturday's game between Blackburn Rovers and Leicester City in the Championship. Prior to that, his appointments were in the lower leagues and early rounds of the FA Cup.

Go well, whistleblower.

What The Managers Said

Martin O'Neill: The cup tie is very important for us. We want to do really well in the cup competitions. We had a taste for the cup last year and the atmosphere that night against Everton in the replay was extraordinary and showed just what it means to the people here. We would love to do well, we have a home tie and really want to make the most of it.

Jim Bentley: I would obviously have liked Everton but apart from that this is the best draw we could have had. It will be great to pit our wits against Premiership opposition in a fantastic stadium and it will be a great experience for the players and the fans.

Roker Report Predicts

Saturday's postponement stunted many - including the manager - but a relatively quick turnaround has given Sunderland the chance to regenerate momentum before the transfer window closes and the league season really takes off. Sunderland fans are all-too-aware of Cup upsets in recent years, but for the first time in a long, long time we have a manager that prioritises cup competitions. That, along with the buzz that Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson's debuts will create, should see the home side through. We'll go with 3-0.

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