clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Harrogate Town vs Newcastle United: Pre-Season Friendly

Filed under:

Match Preview: Sunderland begin their Carabao Cup campaign away to Port Vale

It’s that time of year again where we try and decide the importance of winning early cup games as Sunderland travel to Port Vale in the Carabao Cup - here’s everything you need to know ahead of kick-off!

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Tuesday 10th August 2021

(L2) Port Vale v Sunderland (L1)

Carabao Cup

1st Round

Vale Park

Kick-Off: 19:45

Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: Tickets are now available online via SAFC here.

TV/Stream: Full live match coverage is not available. 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...

After the relief of collecting all three points in our opening game, Lee Johnson will have a judgment call to make ahead of tonight’s trip to Port Vale in the Carabao Cup.

There’s an argument to stick with the nucleus of the side who faced Wigan on Saturday to build momentum and a winning habit amongst the squad, and there is also an argument to rest as many players as possible ahead of Saturday’s trip to MK Dons.

It will be interesting to see what side Johnson goes with and what changes might be forced upon him in terms of any lingering knocks that might still be lingering from Saturday.

Alex Pritchard could be one to look out for, not only in terms of getting a first chance to see him in a Sunderland shirt, but a decision from Lee Johnson to include him in the starting XI would provide an indication to where his fitness levels are, and a possible clue as to his likely involvement at the weekend.

Sunderland v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet League One
Lee Johnson will have been encouraged with what he saw at the weekend against Wigan
Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Darrell Clarke has a slightly different dilemma with his Port Vale squad. In League Two at the weekend, his side were maybe unlucky to come away from Northampton with at least a point where they matched the home side for possession and opportunities, despite their goalkeeper Lucas Covolan being sent-off just before the hour mark.

The Valiants will take encouragement from the display against Northampton, who came down from League One and are expected to challenge at the top, as they look to improve on last season’s mid-table finish of 13th in League Two.

Clarke might be tempted to go for a full-strength side in order to claim a scalp and give the squad a boost ahead of the visit of Carlisle United to Vale Park at the weekend, or alternatively, like Johnson, he may choose to shuffle his deck.

One familiar face on the Port Vale bench will come in the form of Dean Whitehead, who is now first-team coach at Vale Park, and will no doubt get a good reception from the away following if spotted.

Northampton Town v Port Vale - Sky Bet League Two
Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke
Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

Form guide...

Head to head...

In all competitions...

Played: 11

Sunderland wins: 5

Draws: 6

Port Vale wins: 1

Goals for Sunderland: 20

Goals for Port Vale: 11

The Betting...

Just as last week was tough to judge at the start of a new season, tonight is risky without knowing the line-ups, but the bookies back Sunderland at 7/10 whilst Port Vale are 7/2 and the draw 13/5.

In terms of a final score, however, a 1-1 draw is the shortest odds at 11/2, closely followed by a 1-0 Sunderland victory at 13/2, just ahead of a 2-1 away win at 7/1 and 2-0 at 15/2.

Port Vale are 12/1 to win via the only goal of the game and 22/1 to win with a more comprehensive 2-0. The bookies have a goalless draw at 11/1.

Will Grigg is favourite to score first for the Lads at 7/2 and 11/10 anytime scorer for those of you who think he might come into the side, and is closely followed by Ross Stewart who is 4/1 to open the scoring and 13/10 anytime scorer.

Hearts vs Sunderland
Could Will Grigg get the chance to open his scoring for the season tonight at Port Vale?
Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group via Getty Images

Last Time We Met... at Vale Park

Sunday 11th November 2018

FA Cup 1st Round

Port Vale 1-2 Sunderland

(Pope 35’ - Honeyman 1’, Gooch 19’)

Sunderland: McLaughlin, Matthews, Flanagan, Baldwin, James, Gooch (O’Nien), McGeouch, Honeyman, McGeady, Maguire (Power), Sinclair (Maja) Substitutes not used: Ruiter, Oviedo, Loovens, Ozturk

Port Vale: Brown, Clark, Vassell (Oyeleke), Legge, Smith, Rawlinson, Hannant, Joyce, Pope, Whitfield (Miller), Conlon (Montano) Substitutes not used: Hornby, Kay, Hardcastle, Dodds

Port Vale v Sunderland - FA Cup First Round
George Honeyman celebrates scoring the opener when the sides last met in 2018
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Played for Both...

Reuben Agboola

Signed by Lawrie McMenemy from Southampton in January 1985, Agboola spent six years on Wearside making 170 appearances during that time. Played nine games for Port Vale during a loan move in 1990 after dropping down the pecking order at Roker Park as we struggled in Division One and signed for Swansea City a year later.

Soccer - Barclays League Division Two - Playoff Finals - Swindon Town v Sunderland - Wembley Stadium
Reuben Agboola
Photo by Michael Stephens/PA Images via Getty Images

Brett Angell

A £600,000 signing from Everton in 1995 to help Mick Buxton save his job, after his debut at Barnsley, Mick Buxton was sacked. Left the following year after a series of loan moves to Stockport County after 11 appearances and 1 goal to his name at Sunderland. Made fifteen appearances at Vale Park towards the end of his career in 2002.

Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Manchester United v Everton - Old Trafford
Brett Angell challenges Manchester United’s Steve Bruce during his time at Everton
Photo by Phil O’Brien/EMPICS via Getty Images


Stewart’s injury is a blow - but we can salvage this situation


Talking Points: Sunderland’s young stars thrived against Fulham - who impressed you the most?


Two Up, Two Down: What were the positives & negatives from Sunderland’s cup performance?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report