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Match Preview: Sunderland v Crewe Alexandra - all you need to know ahead of kick-off!

The annual early distraction of the League Cup first round is here and this time around we kick-off our cup campaign with the visit of Crewe Alexandra - here’s all you need to know ahead of kick-off!

Tuesday 8th August 2023

Sunderland v Crewe Alexandra

Carabao Cup - 1st Round

Stadium of Light

Kick-Off: 19:45

Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: Tickets are available via

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

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...

The anticipation of the start of another new season is always a beautiful thing, until it actually happens. Frustration seemed to be the overriding feeling following Sunday’s defeat to Ipswich Town, but just over 48 hours from the final whistle, there is another fixture to aid the healing process.

Tonight we welcome League Two opposition in the form of Crewe Alexandra to the Stadium of Light for the League Cup 1st round north tie, for the first time since we met in League One back in March 2022. Over recent years our League Cup record isn’t great, with an exit at the 1st round stage in three of the previous five years.

In the final week of pre-season, it looked like Mowbray had split his squad into those who were likely to feature against Ipswich - who turned out against RCD Mallorca - and those who weren’t - who were on duty at Hartlepool United.

Most of those players may have found that tough to take and subsequently, the performance that ensued down the A19 was a result of that. Tonight’s fixture, however, is likely to give a number of those players another chance, only this time in a competitive fixture against the backdrop of an opening day defeat.

The management team have got a bit of thinking to do ahead of the trip to Deepdale at the weekend and the players who feature in tonight’s game will surely feel it’s an opportunity to force their way into contention for any changes Mowbray and his team are pondering.

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light
Tony Mowbray didn’t have enough hands to demonstrate his frustration at the weekend during Sunderland’s defeat to Ipswich Town
Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Since relegation from the Championship in the 2005-06 season, Crewe Alexandra have been stuck in a seemingly never-ending cycle between League One and League Two with never more than four years at each level.

They now begin their second season in the fourth tier after finishing 13th last time out after a change of manager in November. After a nine game winless streak, Alex Morris stepped down and was replaced by his assistant Lee Bell who had a couple of spells with The Alex as a player.

On the opening day of the season, Bell’s side came from two goals down at home to Mansfield Town, where after levelling just moments after The Stags went down to ten men with half an hour left on the clock, will maybe feel aggrieved they didn’t go on and claim all three points.

Their League Cup record isn’t great in recent years - only making it past the first round twice in eight years - and their overall record against the Lads is just as bleak with one victory, home or away, in 15 games in competitive games.

Their one victory came back in November 2003 when Dean Ashton scored the opener in a 3-0 win over Mick McCarthy’s Sunderland. They also knocked us out of the League Cup in our one and only fixture in the competition back in September 2004. The game finished 3-3 after extra-time and The Railwaymen won 4-2 on penalties to take them through to the 3rd round.

Newport County v Crewe Alexandra - Sky Bet League Two
Crewe Alexandra manager Lee Bell
Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

The betting...

The bookies have the Lads at firm favourites to progress in 90 minutes at 3/10, while Crewe are priced at 13/2 and the draw is around 4/1. To win the tie overall Sunderland are 2/9 and the away side are 3/1.

Head to head... at Sunderland

(All competitions)

  • Sunderland wins: 6
  • Draws: 1
  • Crewe Alexandra wins: 0
  • Sunderland goals: 12
  • Crewe Alexandra goals: 3

Last time we met... at the Stadium of Light

Saturday 12th March 2022

League One

Sunderland 2-0 Crewe Alexandra

[Neil 84’, Roberts 89’]

Sunderland: Patterson, Gooch (Dajaku), Wright, O’Nien (Neil), Cirkin, Evans, Winchester, Matete, Clarke, Stewart, Defoe (Roberts) Substitutes not used: Hoffman, Hume, Doyle, Embleton

Crewe Alexandra: Richards, Lundstram, Williams (Lawton), Offord, O’Riordan, Johnson, Harper (Sambou), Griffiths, Long, Ainley (Finney), Lowery Substitutes not used: Jaaskaleinen, Murphy, Salisbury, Porter

Attendance: 30,036

Sunderland v Crewe Alexandra - Sky Bet League One
Dan Neil celebrates scoring the opening goal late in the game when the two sides last met at the Stadium of Light
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Played for both...

Billy Jones

The Shrewsbury-born full-back Jones started out at Crewe, coming through the ranks to make his debut in 2003, before joining Preston in 2007 after making well over 100 appearances at Gresty Road.

After three years at Deepdale, a move to West Bromwich Albion came in 2011 and Jones spent another three year at the Hawthorns until he signed for Sunderland on a free transfer in 2014.

Jones made 96 appearances for the Lads, scoring 3 goals before leaving on a free transfer in 2018 to join Rotherham United. Crewe Alexandra then re-signed Jones in January 2021 on-loan before he was released by Rotherham in the summer of 2021.

CD National v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly
Billy Jones
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images


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