Sunderland enter the last 16 of the Carabao Cup this evening hoping to end a run of three consecutive away defeats as they face Karl Robinson’s Oxford United.
The Lads were left frustrated as they went down 1-0 to Shrewsbury Town at the weekend, but will be hoping they can put their League One worries to one side and continue their excellent form in the cup that has already seen them topple Premier League sides Burnley and Sheffield United.
Oxford, on the other hand, are in fine form in all competitions and come into the clash on the back of six wins in their last eight games.
Steve Parkin Says…
On the management duo’s first three games...
The lads have been great, everything we tried to do in training they have bought into. They understand that success is important to this football club. We will win more than we lose if we play like Saturday.
On the challenge Oxford United present...
They are an in form team, it is a great opportunity for our lads to progress in a fantastic competition. We have to meet the challenge head on. We went right to the final when we were at Bradford, the momentum was massive.
On team selection for tonight...
Decisions over the team selection will betaken on Tuesday morning. The gaffer will think long and hard about it, as he always does. The squad will be reasonably strong with the players coming back over the next few weeks.
Steve Parkin has already confirmed that tonight’s squad will be “reasonably strong”, but with games coming thick and fast a raft of changes are expected.
Fringe players Tom Flanagan, Dylan McGeouch and Alim Ozturk will be hoping to be given their first opportunities to impress the new management duo, whilst teenager Benji Kimpioka is likely to feature after coming off the bench in the last two games.
Lynden Gooch and Charlie Wyke remain on the sidelines with ankle problems, whilst goalkeeper Lee Burge joins them following the hip flexor injury that saw him go off at half time against Shrewsbury Town.
View From The Opposition
Oxford boss Karl Robinson is sweating on the fitness of two key players for tonight’s clash, as both Cameron Brannagan and Chris Cadden limped out of Saturday’s 3-0 over Rochdale - a late decision is expected on the duo.
Outside of Brannagan and Cadden, Oxford have no fresh injury concerns.
Much like Sunderland, the U’s have beaten Premier League opposition in the League Cup this term, hammering West Ham 4-0 in the previous round to set up a last 16 clash at the Kassam Stadium.
Robinson has experimented with his team in their League Cup ties this campaign, and is expected to give an opportunity to some of his fringe players this evening, whilst keeping faith with the core of his first choice eleven that have performed so well recently.
Venue: Kassam Stadium, Oxford
Referee: Jeremy Simpson
Current position: 5th
Last season position: 12th (League One)
Last season League Cup: Lost at 3rd round vs Manchester City
Last 5 results:
(L1) Shrewsbury Town (A) 0-1
(L1) Tranmere Rovers (H) 5-0
(L1) Wycombe Wanderers (A) 0-1
(LT) Grimsby Town (H) 3-2
(L1) Lincoln City (A) 0-2
(L1) Rochdale (H) 3-0
(L1) Rotherham United (A) 2-1
(L1) Doncaster Rovers (H) 3-0
(LT) Portsmouth (H) 2-2 (4-5 on pens)
(L1) Accrington Stanley (A) 2-2
The Lads at Oxford
09 Feb 2019 (L1) Oxford United 1-1 Sunderland (Dunne)
27 Feb 1999 (D1) Oxford United 0-0 Sunderland
28 Dec 1997 (D1) Oxford United 1-1 Sunderland (Phillips)
11 Jan 1994 (D1) Oxford United 0-3 Sunderland (Smith 2, Goodman)
12 Sep 1992 (D1) Oxford United 0-1 Sunderland (Rush)
The Lads in the League Cup 4th Round
2016/17 Southampton 1-0 Sunderland
2013/14 Sunderland 2-1 Southampton (Bardsley, Larsson)
2012/13 Sunderland 0-1 Middlesbrough
2009/10 Sunderland 0-0 Aston Villa (1-3 on pens)
2008/09 Sunderland 1-2 Blackburn Rovers (Jones)
Top goalscorers (in all competitions)
8 - Tarique Fosu-Henry
8 - James Henry
6 - Cameron Brannagan
4 - Matty Taylor
2 - Jamie Mackie
Last Time We Met
A late Marcus Browne goal rescued a point for Oxford last term, as Sunderland’s season began to unravel after the turn of the year.
A raft of 1-1 draws had been halted a week earlier, with a solitary Aiden McGeady strike earning the Lads all three points against AFC Wimbledon, but an old problem reared its ugly head in the 87th minute at the Kassam.
Jack Ross’ side has started the brighter of the two sides, with promotion-chasing Sunderland taking the game to the relegation-threatened U’s, with debutant Will Grigg looking particularly bright.
The Lads took the lead with their first set-piece goal of the season in the 32nd minute - January signing Grant Leadbitter planting his corner straight onto the head of fellow new recruit Jimmy Dunne, who headed home past Simon Eastwood.
Chances would come and go, although a worrying trend would begin to emerge as Jack Ross’ team sat back in the second half, allowing Oxford to come back into a game they had no real right to.
Sunderland would suffer for their failure to kill the game offer earlier, when Dunne was out-muscled by former Black Cat Jerome Sinclair, who played in midfielder Browne to snatch a late point for his team.