Sunderland travel to Turf Moor this evening in the hope of pulling off a shock at the home of Premier League Burnley.
Jack Ross and Sean Dyche are both likely to ring the changes, but The Lads should go in the League Cup second round tie full of confidence after winning their last four games on the rot.
The last time we traveled to Turf Moor was back in the David Moyes era (shudder) in January 2017 for an FA Cup third round replay. Goals from Sam Vokes and Andre Gray knocked the Lads out, as Burnley marched onto the fourth round.
In fact, you have to go all the way to 2005 for the last time a Sunderland side returned from Lancashire with a victory, where a goal apiece from Liam Lawrence and Marcus Stewart meant Mick McCarthy’s Sunderland edged closer to the Championship summit.
Ahead of the match, I spoke to Liam Vizeh from the YouTube channel Vizeh to discuss how his team have started the season and what we can expect during the match.
RR: Burnley have started the season fairly well. An emphatic win over Southampton, a narrow defeat at the Emirates and a unlucky draw away to Wolves on Sunday leaves you in sixth. How impressed have you been with your side in the opening weeks?
LV: Nothing from what I’ve seen in our start has surprised me.
Defensively we’ve been resolute as ever, the only difference is that we’re being more clinical than usual. The 3-0 win against Southampton may have been a tight 1-0 a few seasons ago but with more years in the Premier League comes more experience and we’ve learned from our mistakes.
RR: What did you make of your summer business?
LV: It’s been okay - and only okay.
We’ve not lost the likes of James Tarkowski and he was rumored to leave, so that in itself is like a new signing.
Erik Pieters offers very good competition for Charlie Taylor, who was very good last year. Jay Rod is more of a homecoming signing. We’ve not made the team better, just added depth without spending silly money, which I’ll take.
RR: Are we likely to see Phil Bardsley tonight?
LV: With Matt Lowton starting all PL games then it’s very likely he’ll start.
Phil Bardsley is a typical Burnley player. Hard-working, mentally and physically strong. You don’t see many players get the best of him. I’m very impressed with how he’s still managed to cope with Premier League football.
RR: How good of a manager is Sean Dyche?
LV: I’m in love with Sean Dyche. That’s all I can say really!
He represents the people of Burnley so well and understands us.
He’s humble when we win, yet gracious in defeat. He’s the perfect manager in my opinion. I’ll be very surprised if he’s not a potential England manager candidate in the future.
How he pushes players to the absolute edge of their performance is incredible at times.
RR: Last year you suffered slightly at the beginning of the season, potentially with an overload of games due to your participation in the Europa League - with that in mind, do you expect Dyche to ring the changes on Wednesday?
LV: Thanks to our summer signings, we are completely happy to put out a full rotated team and still play great quality football, which is what I expect will happen tonight.
Our back-ups players are the likes of Jay Rodriguez, Joe Hart, Ben Gibson, Aaron Lennon - the list goes on. We can get the job done with those I’ll say.
RR: You finished in a disappointing 15th last season - what would you class as a successful season at Turf Moor this year?
LV: Survival. Simple as that. We know what we are. We’re a small Milltown in Lancashire with a proud Premier League level club.
Historically we’re in the top thirty biggest teams in England by the honours list. This means that financially we can’t compete, so we have to rely on a strict recruitment process to bring the very best type of player to the club, physically and mentally.
If we survive yet again, we are doing a fantastic job.
RR: Is there much clamour for a cup run at Turf Moor, or is it all about the Premier League?
LV: We are terrible in the cup, and I mean terrible!
We’ve been knocked out in previous years by Burton Albion, Accrington Stanley, Port Vale and even Leeds... yes... Leeds.
I’d say the fans would like a cup run, as in the league we should do well, but we’ll see.
RR: Which players do you think could surprise Burnley tonight?
LV: Granted my knowledge of Sunderland nowadays isn’t the greatest, I’d imagine that Chris Maguire would get a start, and any man on form we should be wary of.
Will Grigg loves a goal in the cup so I really wouldn’t be surprised if he bags a poachers goal at some stage either.
RR: Finally - what’s your score prediction?
LV: I’d imagine that getting out of League One is a priority for Sunderland this year so I don’t think you’ll be too fussed over the cup, but saying that neither do we. Is a 0-0 on the cards?! Ha...
I’d say our experience in the Premier League should come out on top and a comfortable 2-0 win is realistic. Jay Rod and Lennon my goal scorer predictions.