Kevin Ball has gone for a strong line-up for his first game in this spell as caretaker, perhaps hoping to gain an insight into his best XI for the league game with Liverpool at the weekend.
The main surprises would probably be the retention of Keiren Westwood in goal for Sunderland. It had been expected that Vito Mannone would get the nod for cup games, especially considering Westwood's poor performance against West Brom.
The other minor surprise is the omission of Ondrej Celustka (arguably the most impressive of Sunderland's summer signings so far) with Craig Gardner returning to the right-back slot.For the rest of the defence, John O'Shea retains the captain's armband and is partnered in central-defence by Carlos Cuellar in a rare look-in for the Spaniard. Jack Colback also continues in defence.
Refreshingly, Ball seems to have straight away instigated a change from the 4-4-2 formation that was so noticeably struggling to work for Paolo Di Canio. Instead Sunderland appear to be lined up in a 4-3-3 (or maybe 4-2-3-1) with Seb Larsson, Lee Cattermole and Ki Sung-Yeung in midfield, and Adam Johnson, Emmanuele Giaccherini and Jozy Altidore in attack.
On the bench Cabral finally makes a return to the first team, whilst thankfully David Vaughan continues to be absent.
Sunderland (4-3-3): Keiren Westwood; Craig Gardner, John O'Shea (c), Carlos Cuellar, Jack Colback; Seb Larsson, Ki Sueng-Yung, Lee Cattermole; Adam Johnson, Jozy Altidore, Emmanuele Giaccherini
Substitutes: Vito Mannone, Valentin Roberge, El Hadji-Ba, Cabral, Charis Mavrias, Connor Wickham, Fabio Borini.
Meanwhile Darren Ferguson has gone for a team of players, some of whom I've even heard of.
The players worth keeping an eye on for the Posh are their in-form strikers, Barnett and especially Assombalonga, as well as the impressive midfield maestro Tomlin.
Peterborough United (4-4-2): Robert Olejnik; Craig Alcock, Kgosi Ntlhe, Scott Bostwick, Gabriel Zakuani, Tommy Rowe, Jack Payne, Danny Swanson, Lee Tomlin, Tyrone Barnett, Britt Assombalonga,
Substitutes: Joe Day, Shaun Brisley, Joe Newell, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Jaanai Gordon-Hutton, Grant McCann, Kane Ferdinand.