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Match Preview: Sunderland v Carlisle United

Sunderland’s second EFL Trophy group stage game sees League Two Carlisle United travel across the A69 to the Stadium of Light this evening. Here’s everything you need to know!

Carlisle United v Barrow - Sky Bet League 2 Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Sunderland v Carlisle United - EFL Trophy, Group Stage

Stadium of Light

Kick-Off: 7pm - Tuesday 6th October, 2020

Match Coverage

TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via

Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Newcastle (not online)

Don’t forget to follow the blow-by-blow account of the game on the Roker Report Twitter feed (@RokerReport) and check out the player ratings after the game at!

In our opening EFL Trophy group game at the Stadium of Light against Aston Villa U21s we gained a glimpse of Phil Parkinson’s pragmatic, yet serious approach to the competition. A rotation of the squad to an extent that allowed for players on the fringe to impress, whilst keeping a strong enough side to produce a professional performance.

What followed was an 8-1 victory, that is impressive by any standard, even when facing an opposition who really didn’t like heading a football.

Considering our early League One form, a number of players are looking to force their way into the reckoning, and it’s a nice problem to have for Phil Parkinson. All eyes will no doubt be on the forwards to see if any look like they might boost our attacking intent when it comes to our next League One fixture.

As for Carlisle United, their EFL Trophy campaign got off to a disappointing start at Brunton Park as they went down 3-1 to Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town. In League Two, it’s been a mixed bag with victories against Barrow and Southend United offset by defeats to Scunthorpe United and Cambridge United.

With their focus primarily on improving last season’s final position of 18th in League Two, Sunderland will expect another routine victory in this competition before heading into the final group game at Fleetwood next month. As it’s a roulette trying to hazard a guess at team selection, let’s remind ourselves of the EFL Trophy competition rules...

Oxford United v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Phil Parkinson will expect to remain undefeated this season after the tie with Carlisle United in the EFL Trophy
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

EFL Trophy Rules

Any eligible goalkeeper from the club can play in the competition.

A club must play four qualifying players from the 10.

A qualifying player must meet one of the following criteria:

- A player who started the previous of following first team fixture.

- Any player who is in the top ten players at the club who have made the most starting appearances in the League and domestic cup competitions that season.

- Any player with 40 of more first team appearances in their career.

- Any player currently on loan from a Premier League of Category One Academy Club.

Only two players over the age of 21 who have made 40 or more senior appearances can be selected to play for Academy sides.

Sunderland Team News

Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson is low on available options for his back three going into the game, and it’s likely we’ll see the introduction of a couple of the academy players.

Sam Wilding has been deployed on the right of a three for the U23 side recently and Oliver Younger has trained with the first team, so it’s likely they’re at the top of the list after international call-ups for Connor McLaughlin, Jon Flanagan and Arbenit Xhemajli.

Jordan Willis is also unlikely to be risked after picking up a knock at the weekend, leaving Brandon Taylor likely to be the senior player of the back three. In front of him, George Dobson will be looking to get some match fitness after sitting out the last three games through suspension and Max Power may get a run out after missing out on a starting place at The Valley.

Up top, I’d expect to see Wyke and Grigg as they didn’t start on Saturday and any chance of a confidence boost is most welcome.

Possible XI: Remi Matthews, Sam Wilding, Brandon Taylor, Oliver Younger, Jack Diamond, George Dobson, Max Power, Lynden Gooch, Dan Neil, Will Grigg, Charlie Wyke

Sunderland v Bristol Rovers - Sky Bet League One
George Dobson is likely to make an appearance after returning from suspension
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Carlisle United Team News

Carlisle United head coach Chris Beech will be looking to gain a boost by taking a big scalp and this game at the Stadium of Light presents a perfect opportunity.

An indifferent start to the League One campaign of two wins and two defeats so far may also mean the ex-Harltepool United and Huddersfield Town midfielder is tempted to rotate the squad ahead of Saturday’s trip to Port Vale.

One to watch (if selected): Joshua Kayode

Fans of Gateshead may recognise the name, where he scored nine goals in the first half of last season, before joining Carlisle United on loan in January. The 20-year-old went on the score three goals in five game before the season was ended which was enough to persuade the manager to secure a season long loan beginning in August.

Carlisle United v Barrow - Sky Bet League 2
Carlisle United manager Chris Beech during the League Two fixture at Brunton Park against Barrow
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Last Time We Met

Tuesday 9th October 2018: EFL Trophy, Group Stage

Sunderland 3 - 1 Carlisle United

Sunderland Scorers: Kimpioka, Robson, Honeyman

Carlisle Scorer: Nadesan

Sunderland: Ruiter, Matthews, Ozturk, Baldwin, James, Honeyman, McGeouch, Robson (O’Nien), Maguire, McGeady (Diamond), Kimpioka (Connelly) Substitutes not used: Patterson, Taylor, Gamble, Hackett

Carlisle United: Collin, Miller, Gillesphey, Glendon (Adewusi), Liddle, Parkes, Campbell, Slater, Nadesan (Egan), Yates, McCarron (Jones) Substitutes not used: Gray, Etuhu, Brown

Sunderland v Carlisle United - Checkatrade Trophy
Jack Diamond in action on his Sunderland debut the last time the two sides met in October 2018
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Match Betting

Sunderland are clear favourites with the bookies at 4/7, the draw after ninety minutes is 11/4 and a shock Carlisle victory is on offer at 9/2.

Danny Graham is 11/10 favourite for anytime goalscorer followed by Charlie Wyke at 11/8. In terms of correct score the bookies fancy a close game with 1-0 to the home side at 11/2 and Sunderland to win 2-0 is the same odds as a goalless draw at 6/1.


Carlisle United will be looking to cause an upset against a weakened Sunderland side, so I’ll be surprised if we see anything like what we saw at the Stadium of Light against Aston Villa U21s.

I’m predicting a professional, fairly dour victory for Phil Parkinson’s side.

Sunderland 2 - 0 Carlisle United

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