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Match Preview: SAFC v Shrewsbury Town - Third Time Lucky?

Sunderland's third game of the season comes this evening against League One side Shrewsbury Town, who despite starting slowly have an impressive record in cup competitions against Premier League teams. We run down everything that you need to know ahead of tonight's third round EFL Cup clash.

Kick Off: 19:45pm GMT, 24th August 2016
Venue: The Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: Jeremy Simpson
Last Season: N/A
Dafabet Odds: SAFC - 1/4 Draw - 9/2 Shrewsbury - 10/1

The last thing that David Moyes and his injury-stricken side need is another game so soon after Sunday's defeat to Middlesbrough, but regardless we have to take Shrewsbury very seriously tonight.

Every year Premier League teams fall short against lower league opposition at this stage of the competition and, having lost twice already this season, we cannot afford another stinging defeat, particularly against a team so far below us in the footballing pyramid. Winning, regardless of who it is against, breeds confidence and we could do with putting out a convincing performance this evening.

We're unfortunately over-reliant upon our young players and getting the likes of Joel Asoro, Paddy McNair, Lynden Gooch, Donald Love and Jordan Pickford some game time on the Stadium of Light pitch is important. Likewise, we have players such as Wahbi Khazri, Jeremain Lens and Steven Pienaar who all need game time in order to build their fitness and tonight represents an opportunity to do just that.

I'm going to the game tonight with the hope that we'll see some nice football, some impressive performances and a win, all a welcome distraction from the crippling reality that we are seemingly falling apart and the Premier League is going to be yet another slog this season.

Tickets are just £10 - you can call the ticket office and have your season card activated or you can pay on the gate, with a number of cash turnstiles open tonight around the ground for fans wanting to get along and support a young, unconfident side that needs our support. If you can get along, please do.

Team News

Vito Mannone (elbow), John O'Shea (groin), Lamine Kone (back), Fabio Borini (toe), Seb Larsson (MCL knee ligament), Billy Jones (hip/thigh), Jan Kirchhoff (hamstring) and Lee Cattermole (hernia) are all missing through injury.

Sunderland really are down to the bare bones - just take a look at the players that David Moyes has to choose from for tonight's game.

shrews squad

Predicted XI:

Pickford, Van Aanholt, Djilobodji, Rodwell, Love, McNair, Gooch, Pienaar, Khazri, Lens, Asoro.

Manager's Crack

On Jordan Pickford and our goalkeeping situation:

Jordan is capable - it was very tight between the two goalkeepers anyway. It is close.

I told Jordan Vito will start and he has to push him hard to get it off him and Vito would have to play well to make sure, because he knows you are behind him.

I watched Jordan a few times [at Preston] and there was a lot of talk about the goalkeeper. He catches your eye because he is a great kicker of the ball. He is also a good all-round goalkeeper but young and it isn`t always that easy to play young goalkeepers.

Gav's Prediction

We have to win, don't we? Shrewsbury are a low-end League One side and whilst they will undoubtedly push themselves hard with this being a big game for them, we are the clear favourites and you'd expect that once they start to tire we'll pick them off eventually. I fancy us to win 3-1, with Joel Asoro getting two and scoring his first senior goals for the club.

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