Preview: Sunderland Hoping For Cup Relief

Mark Runnacles

Sunderland take on Carlisle United in the third round of the the FA Cup this weekend.

Sunderland Team News

With Gus Poyet admitting he's as fed up as the rest of us, you have to imagine there'll be a hell of a lot of changes, as opposed to the 'some' changes we all expected.

Wes Brown returns from his ban and will likely retake a place in the starting lineup, while we expect to see some more fringe players given a chance.

Look for the likes of Charis Mavrias, El Hadji Ba and possibly even young guns like Duncan Watmore and Alejandro Gorrin to be given a place in the squad.

We also expect Gus to start with some of his players who could use a confidence boost -- Jozy Altidore, Craig Gardner and Seb Larsson could be among those.

Carlisle United Team News

What I know about Carlisle's team you could write on a postage stamp or smaller.

Paul Thirlwell plays for them, so look to welcome him back. I know he'll also be be in midfield with another former Sunderland product Liam Noble, although Noble is a bit of a tit, so don't welcome him back quite so much.

Erm... Lee Miller used to play for 'Boro, and Pascal Chimbonda somehow retains a job in their defence.

They also have Ben Amos & Tom Lawrence on loan from Manchester United and Courtney Meppen-Walter, a defender on loan from Manchester City too for Premier League experience, of sorts. David Amoo also joins from Liverpool.

Predicted Lineups

Sunderland vs Carlisle United - Football tactics and formations

Sunderland: Mannone, Celustka, Brown, Diakite, Alonso, Gardner, Ba, Larsson, Mavrias, Johnson, Altidore

Carlisle United: Amos, Chimbonda, Ehmer, Meppen-Walter, Thirlwell, Noble, Buaben, Amoo, Miller, Lawrence

Key Matchup: Jozy Altidore Vs Everyone

This is the last of last chance saloon's for Altidore in a Sunderland shirt you feel. Some have seen enough. Myself included in all honesty but for those on the fence or those who think there's something there to work with, he needs to put in not just a good performance against Carlisle, but a stellar one.

I'm betting against it, but he needs to turn things on to buy him some time and patience with the fans.

Recent Form: WWLLWL

Win: Carlisle 3-2 Brentford (Berrett 45, Miller 73, 77 pen; Chimbonda 63 OG, El Alagui 86)

Win: Carlisle 4-1 Tranmere (Lawrence 1, 67, Amoo 52, Berrett 76; Lowe 81)

Loss: Walsall 2-0 Carlisle (Sawyers 15, Lalkovic 66)

Loss: Carlisle 0-1 Preston North End (Brownhill 42)

Win: Carlisle 2-1 Peterborough United (Amoo 72, 73; Tomlin 61)

Loss: Crewe 2-1 Carlisle (Aneke 53, Na Bangna 64; Lawrence 78)

Last Time Around: Sunderland 1-1 Carlisle United (07/01/95)

Sunderland last met Carlisle United at home in the FA Cup Third Round... Oooh spooky omens and that.

Can't remember anything about it, but the history books show that we drew 1-1 with Craig Russell and Simon Davey among the goals, before heading over to Cumbria to win 3-1 in the replay.

The Ref: Neil Swarbrick

We get a Premier League referee for the game in the shape of 43-year old Neil Swarbrick.

In 9 games so far this season at the highest level he's awarded two penalties, and dished out 28 yellow cards.

Swarbrick also oversaw our first home game of the season against Fulham, and a 0-0 at Villa Park recently.

What The Managers Said

Gus Poyet

I try to be realistic but for me football is so important and I get so involved, so I forget about the rest of my life, my family, my health and all the rest.

I've no explanation why we can beat Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton and not the smaller teams.

Football is crazy I cannot explain it. A few months ago people were thinking it was impossible and now it is there. In reality we have done nothing, but it is now all about what is coming next.

Graham Kavanagh

On a personal level it's great for me. I still live over that way and Sunderland is a club I have close to my heart.

I still look out for their results and a lot of my friends are Mackems.

It will be a proud moment when I'm stood in the dug out and waiting for kick off.

Roker Report Predicts

One of them games. No, not one of them games like Aston Villa. One of them were we win, we win convincingly like 2-0 or 3-0 and somehow come away thinking we didn't do enough and got a bit lucky.

Altidore will probably get himself a goal. Hopefully a youngster takes his chances and gives us something to look forward to for the rest of the season.

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