Bury vs Sunderland by Hassy
A 93rd minute equaliser put paid to my last tip as Notts County showed good fighting spirit but lost the game on penalties. Tonight, I stick with the same tournament that so far has seen the lower league sides find the net against the bigger boys in the first round of the League Cup. Clubs like Villa, Leeds, Forest, etc have all conceded goals against their lower league opposition and I expect Sunderland to do the same this evening.
I did say over the weekend that Sunderland are not in a great place at the moment and felt that the first game at home would demand a big response from their players after a 0-5 friendly defeat to Celtic. That response earned them a creditable 1-1 draw against Derby and I think we will see another fighting performance from The Blackcats this evening.
Granted, a tricky away cup tie against lower league opposition, where they’ve got very little to gain but will receive plenty of fresh flack if they lose is not ideal for Sunderland but Simon Grayson is a manager that demands every ounce from his players regardless of the circumstances.
New signing Robbin Ruiter could start having penned a two-year deal last week however Jason Steele will be keen to keep his place, but Josh Maja, who caused the Shakers all kinds of problems in pre-season, will miss out due to injury. Paddy McNair and Duncan Watmore remain sidelined but Bryan Oviedo has returned to training, although he’s unlikely to feature as he continues to build his fitness. And although other changes are likely, Simon Grayson states he will take the competition seriously and field a strong side.
Bury started the campaign with a 1-0 home win and have yet again spent big considering the size of the club. A tough 2016-17 campaign almost saw them relegated but 24 league by James Vaughan (now at Sunderland) ensured that they managed to avoid the drop. Lee Clark, who spent two seasons as a player on Wearside, has added depth and quality to his squad with Jermain Beckford the standout name in a vast number of summer arrivals. And the former Preston North End striker, who scored a hat-trick for Simon Grayson’s Lilywhites in the 2015 League One play-off final, is already off the mark having scored the only goal in an 1-0 win over Walsall on Saturday. Bury have a full squad to choose from for tonight so Zeli Ismail and Hong Kong teenager Tsun Dai are options in midfield, should they opt for fresh legs.
These two sides met in the early pre season stage, which saw Sunderland win 3-2 after going 2-0 down. I expect a lively encounter in tonight's televised game and goals won't be hard to come by as both sides will look to avoid extra time by getting a win inside 90 minutes.
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