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Sunderland v Tranmere Rovers - Papa John’s Trophy - Final 2021 - Wembley Stadium

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Match Preview: Sunderland take on Man Utd’s kids in EFL Trophy

All the build up to tonight’s pizza cup clash.

Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

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Wednesday 13th October 2021

(L1) Sunderland v Manchester United U21s

Papa Johns Trophy

Northern Group F

Stadium of Light

Kick-Off: 19:00

Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: Tickets are now available online via SAFC here.

TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via Further information can be found here.

Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Radio 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 full-time whistle at!

The build-up...

Following last week’s win at Lincoln in our first EFL Trophy outing of the season, Sunderland take on Manchester United’s under-21s at the Stadium of Light.

Lee Johnson certainly wasn’t thrilled about the game being slotted into the week; with players away on international duty and a tough game at Gillingham on Saturday, it’s likely we’ll see even more changes to the team than we saw at Sincil Bank.

If we put aside the ridiculousness of Premier League under 21 sides playing in the competition for a moment, it should be a really interesting game tonight.

So far, United’s kids have beaten Bradford 3-0 away from home – with former Sunderland youngster Joe Hugill netting – but lost out at Lincoln 3-2.

Another familiar name, Paul McShane, could be in United’s line up. The Irish defender returned to Old Trafford in the summer as an under-23 coach, and lines up as an overage player for the team.

The Rules...

Full competition rules can be found here, the following rules govern those of team selection:

Each EFL Club shall play its Full Available Strength in and during all Matches. Full Available Strength means the EFL Club must include at least four Qualifying Players in the ten outfield Players named in the starting eleven on the Team Sheet.

Qualifying Player means any Player who:

  • Had started the immediately preceding First Team Fixture (as defined below);
  • Subsequently starts the immediately following First Team Fixture;
  • Is in the list of ten Players at the Club with the highest number of starting appearances in First Team Fixtures* in the same Season;
  • Has made forty or more starting appearances in First Team Fixtures* or international equivalents (and not limited to the same Club or Season); or
  • Is on standard loan from a Premier League Club or any EFL Club operating a Category One Academy.

First Team Fixture means the League Competition, Premier League, EFL Cup or FA Challenge Cup (but shall, in the context of specified Rules*, also include this Competition).

The Betting...

The bookies have Sunderland as firm favourites at 4/7, while Manchester United u21s are 10/3.

Goals are expected, with over 2.5 offered at 3/5, while under 2.5 is 13/10. If you fancy something approaching a repeat of our victory over Aston Villa’s kids last year, a 7-0 win is on offer at 150/1 - if you want to back an 8-1 scoreline you’ll have to request the odds!

Played for Both...

Paul McShane

35-year-old Irish defender Paul McShane was signed by Roy Keane in 2007 after Sunderland won promotion to the top flight. McShane started his career at Old Trafford but never made a first-team appearance – loan spells at Walsall and Brighton preceded a transfer to West Brom, to whom Keane paid a fee of £1.5m. Despite a Maldini-esque performance on his debut versus Spurs, McShane’s form soon dipped dramatically and after only 24 league games for the club he was shipped out to Hull, initially on loan. He spent six years on Humberside and had a couple of years at Reading and another two at Rochdale before returning to Old Trafford this summer.

Everton v Manchester United - Premier League 2 Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Joe Hugill

One of the victims of the academy gutting that took place before KLD’s arrival, local lad Hugill was sold to Manchester United last season for a reported fee of £300,000 in the summer of 2020. The 6ft 2in striker was rated as one of our brightest prospects for a generation, and at 16 years old was playing for the under-23s – however a combination of being unable to tie him down to a contract until he reached the age of 17, plus a lift that needed fixing, meant he was off to Old Trafford. Hugill’s now regarded as being on the verge of the first team at Old Trafford, and is one of the country’s brightest prospects.

Liverpool U18 v Sunderland U18 - U18 Premier League Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images


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