Sunderland Team News
Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena start their 3 match suspensions after both were sent off in the weekend's defeat to Hull City and Kieren Westwood is a major doubt after being substituted due to injury in the same game. With this being Gus Poyet's first cup game in charge it's difficult to predict how many changes he will make but, after the shambolic defeat at the weekend, expect few changes as the players are given a chance to redeem themselves, particularly after the battling second half performance.
Wes Brown may come in contention for a start after making an appearance at the weekend, Celustka and Ki should replace the suspended Dossena and Cattermole respectively and Vito Mannone will be on hand to deputise for Westwood. There may also be sightings of Cabral and Modibo Diakite after their omission from Monday's u21 Premier League defeat to West Brom.
Southampton Team News
Mauricio Pochettino is expected to make wholesale changes to the side that earned a 1-1 draw away to Stoke at the weekend. Former Sunderland "goalkeeper" Kelvin Davis should start in goal, while Danny Fox, Gaston Ramirez, Jack Cork, Maya Yoshida and Tadanari Lee all expected to feature.
Steven Davis should return to the side after recovering from a knock, Dani Osvaldo may return to the squad despite missing the Stoke game but Guly do Prado remains sidelined.
Sunderland: Mannone; Bardsley, O'Shea, Cuellar, Celustka; Giaccherini, Ki, Colback, Johnson; Altidore, Fletcher.
Southampton: K.Davis; Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Fox; Ward-Prowse, S.Davis, Cork; Ramirez, Lee, Rodriguez.
Key Match-up: Emanuele Giaccherini Vs Danny Fox
After being dropped for the last two Premier League games, Emanuele Giaccherini will be determined to prove a point, should he be selected, and he will be up against the defensively suspect Danny Fox.
Fox, who is prone to switching off, should have his hands full against Giaccherini and the Italian international getting the better of Fox will be vital if we are to progress to the next round. Fox, however, can be a threat going forward and Giaccherini will need to work hard to make sure our the Scot isn't given free rein to whip in crosses.
Recent Form: WWWDWD
Win: Southampton 2-0 Bristol City (Ramirez 15, Hooiveld 83)
Win: Southampton 2-0 Crystal Palace (Osvaldo 47, Lambert 49)
Win: Southampton 2-0 Swansea (Lallana 19, Rodriguez 83)
Draw: Manchester United 1-1 Southampton (Van Persie 26; Lallana 89)
Win: Southampton 2-0 Fulham (Lambert 20, Rodriguez 42)
Draw: Stoke City 1-1 Southampton (Begovic 1; Rodriguez 42)
Last Time Around: Sunderland 1-1 Southampton 12/05/2013
In what was a must win game, it looked like Paolo Di Canio had secured Premier League safety after Phil Bardsley's deflected drive gave Sunderland a second half lead with just over 20 minutes to go but two inspired substitutions from Pochettino saw Southampton gain an equaliser which all but confirmed the visitors Premier League status for another season.
After a cagey but disappointing first half, Sunderland started imposing themselves after the interval and, although they struggled to create chances, the breakthrough came with 22 minutes to go when Adam Johnson set-up Bardsley to rifle a deflected effort past Artur Boruc. That should have been enough to seen the home side win all 3 points but Pocettino sent on Ward-Prowse and Jason Puncheon and they combined almost immediately only for Simon Mignolet to brilliantly save from Puncheon, the Saints player was the quickest to react though and poked home the equaliser. Southampton could even have won it but for another great Mignolet save.
The Ref: Lee Mason
Lee Mason has only officiated both sides once this season, which coincidentally was the 1-1 draw between the two sides at St Mary's in August. Although he had very little to do, there were two notable, poor decisions, as Osvaldo was very lucky not to see red on his debut and John O'Shea was lucky not to give away a needless penalty.
So far this season he has handed out 30 yellow cars and 1 red in just 8 games and last season he sent off Craig Gardner for his horror challenge against Charlie Adam.
What The Managers Said
They have done very well. They have kept the core of the team. They have added two or three players who are performing at great levels, so they are a very strong team.
They are the biggest surprise so far, but it's totally deserved because they play a football which is quite brave and very aggressive, especially pressing at the beginning of the game, so there are plenty of things we need to do right to win this tie.
Our feet are on the ground. We're managing expectations well without getting ahead of ourselves.
We're working hard. We're putting in a massive effort. But we're working in a humble way with humility.
We're expecting to compete in every game, to try to play well and win.
Roker Report Predicts
A difficult match to predict, with Southampton in-form but set to make wholesale changes, Sunderland coming off the back of a diabolical first half against Hull but then a battling second half performance with 9 men when we could have snatched a point and a question mark over what kind of side Poyet will select in the cup.
With home advantage against a weakened side, the pressure of the Premier League being temporarily lifted and the dangling carrot of a home quarter-final against Chelsea (fond memories of one of those!), I'm going to predict a 2-1 home win, with Jozy Altidore scoring both goals and taking advantage of the reduced pressure environment of a Capital Cup tie.