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Sunderland off to Carlisle in the League Cup; the first visit of this millennium to an old haunt

Sunderland have been drawn against Carlisle United in the Second Round of the League Cup. The game to be played in in week commencing 21st August will be our first trip to Brunton Park in over 20 years.

Carlisle United v Everton - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round. Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images

After dispatching with Bury, Sunderland will travel to Brunton Park in the second round of the Carabao Cup.

League Two Carlisle await for the next stage of the League Cup with the game to be played week beginning August 21st.

And with the Mackem faithful on the road for much of this month, a short hop across the A69 will be a decent night out to face a former cup foe.

Sunderland will clock up a 500 mile round trip this weekend to face Norwich, take in Hillsborough next Wednesday to add in a further 250 miles for the game against Sheffield Wednesday before playing host to Leeds a week on Saturday.

A tricky trio of league games then before a night out in Cumbria and the first visit to Brunton Park of this millennium.

The Black Cats have hosted the blue-and-white men from across the Pennines once in recent years. A 3-1 win at the Stadium of Light handed Gus Poyet a passage into the Fourth Round in 2014, but we haven’t been to Brunton for over 20 years. Indeed, Carlisle’s famous ground was once a regular haunt for Sunderland sides of the last century.

Sunderland v Carlisle United - FA Cup Third Round
Gus Poyet and Graham Kavanagh were in charge of the two teams the last time Sunderland played Carlisle
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

The mid-90s saw four FA Cup games between the two sides as Carlisle twice held Sunderland at home in the third round to earn a replay back at fortress Brunton.

Mick Buxton was in charge in the 1993-94 season when the Cumbrians brought around 6,000 fans to Roker Park and had the flat capped boss grumbling as his side struggled to a goal-apiece draw. A replay followed in a similar vein, before a Lee Howey header in extra time sent Sunderland through to round four.

In an action replay the following year, Buxton was still in the home dugout as Sunderland were again held by a visiting Carlisle in the traditional early January fixture. A Simon Davey goal 12 minutes from time cancelled out a Craig Russell opener just after the restart.

Another trek west for the replay saw Phil Gray add to a Gordon Armstrong brace to send the Mackems back to Wearside with a 3-1 victory in front of a 12,000-strong crowd at Brunton Park.

But you have to go back to 1986 for the last league fixture between Carlisle and Sunderland. That game finished with honours even in a 2-2 draw at Roker. The two sides were regular opponents throughout the 70s and 80s in the old Division Two.

We haven’t lost to the Cumbrians in the last ten encounters between the two teams - since 1975 in the obscure Anglo-Scottish cup. Bob Stokoe was in charge of Sunderland that day and would go on to lead his side to the Second Division title, with Carlisle narrowly escaping relegation at the season end.

Sunderland should be handed a decent away allocation for this year’s trip. A sizeable contingent will no doubt make the journey west.