08 September 2020 22:31
Good afternoon and welcome to our live coverage of Sunderland's first EFL Trophy tie of the season. The Black Cats fell to defeat in their opening match of the season, suffering a Carabao Cup first-round exit on penalties at home to Hull City. Phil Parkinson's side delivered a strong performance and were guilty of spurning a number of chances - particularly in the first-half - before Will Grigg's miss in the shooutout confirmed their exit. Sign up for our Sunderland newsletter for takeover and transfer updates There's never a normal day on Wearside when it comes to Sunderland. Just as soon as Stewart Donald joined to herald a new era at the Stadium of Light, he is seemingly on his way out as owner.
By signing up to our twice daily newsletter, you'll get all the latest news on Sunderland, their takeover and transfers straight to your inbox. Just click on this link to our newsletter sign up form and select SAFC - all you have to do is enter your email address and you're all done. If you decide to unsubscribe at any stage, simply follow the unsubscribe link on any of our newsletters - but we don't think you'll want to. It was a full-strength side that face the Tigers, and the Black Cats boss has indicated he will look to the club's promising academy talents for the midweek cup fixture. The likes of Dan Neil and Jack Diamond - who both impressed in pre-season - Brandon Taylorm and Jake Hackett, are likely to start.
For tonight's game, Parkinson has revealed he will select a young Black Cats side which could include the likes of Jack Diamond, Dan Neil and Brandon Taylor. Aiden O'Brien is an injury concern after he was taken off during Saturday's game with Hull, but Parkinson does not believe it is serious. New recruit Danny Graham could feature after re-joining the Lads on a one-year deal yesterday and insisting he is "fit and raring to go". Aston Villa Under-23s finished 7th in the Premier League 2 last season, winning six of their 19 games before the coronavirus pandemic halted the season. Mark Delaney's side did the double over the Black Cats' development squad last campaign, winning narrowly 2-1 at the Stadium of Light last August, before sealing a 4-0 victory at Bodymoor Heath in January.
The games will be available on desktop and laptop via safc.com/news/team-news/live-video or on mobile devices via the SAFSEE App. The SAFSee App can be downloaded via the Apple App Store or Google Play. iOS users download here Android users download here Only one of panel picked up points at the weekend and that was Matthew Foster, who got a point for correctly predicting it would end in a draw, and we threw him another point for correctly guessing that inevitably Hull City would win the proceeding shoot-out. This week we're testing the lads' knowledge of the Aston Villa Academy set-up, as our panel provide their predictions for Sunderland v Aston Villa U21s in the opening group game of the EFL Trophy... Much like Saturday's game against Hull City, I see Sunderland's second cup game of the week as their final preseason friendly. However, whereas Saturday's opponents were League One rivals, Tuesdays game sees us go up against a group of teenagers. For that reason alone, I think Sunderland's physicality will lead to a comfortable victory, and with a young team likely to be fielded by Phil Parkinson, Jack Diamond will be keen to stake a claim to play a part in the first league game of the season against Bristol Rovers. Scoreline: Sunderland 3 - 0 Aston Villa U21s Sunderland's first goalscorer: Dan Neil Another game where the result should be a formality, hence I am forecasting a comprehensive win for the lads. There is a strong chance of significant changes in the team compared to the Hull cup game. That said, this is the last game before the proper season starts, so the gaffer may use this to make final decisions about the first team to start versus Bristol, but who knows. I'd love to see this "nothing rubber" used as another pre-season experimentation session, hence the goal scorer I've gone with is young Neil. He has very much impressed in pre-season games with his precise passing and at least one assist, but I think he is likely to start this one as a young player with lots to show the management. Bit of a punt, but if you don't try these things in games like this one, you never will. I care more about this result than Hull to be honest, as confidence before the league starting is useful. Matthew Foster predicts... Scoreline: Sunderland 2 - 0 Aston Villa U21s Sunderland's first goalscorer: Jack Diamond The fact we're facing another sides U21's, is a stark reminder of where we are, and why we need to get out of League One as soon as possible. I won't pretend to know a great deal about Villa's young'uns, but this is a game we should realistically be winning regardless. I would imagine there will be wholesale changes to the side that faced Hull and hopefully some of the younger lads will get a chance to show us what they got. Irrespective of the starting XI, I can see a win for the lads before we commence our third (and hopefully last) season in League One against Bristol Rovers on Saturday. Jack Howe-gingell predicts... Scoreline: Sunderland 2 - 0 Aston Villa U21s Sunderland's first goalscorer: Josh Scowen I have to question why this competition is going ahead, considering you'd have thought they would want to reduce fixture congestion. I've never been a fan of it, though winning breeds confidence if we must. I'd expect a changed eleven from our penalty defeat to Hull at the weekend. Hopefully the likes of Diamond and Neil will get a chance to a shine, and I expect Parkinson will treat this as another pre-season game ahead of Bristol Rovers on Saturday. We may also see the debut of Arbenit "Arby" Xhemajli, who can hopefully add to his promising start as a triallist against Gateshead. I'd like to see Grigg start again, and get a goal - he played well last time out and needs to banish the poor penalty. I don't know much about Villa's young players other than Louie Barry who signed for £1M from Barcelona. Overall, I'd like to think our pros should have too much for a team of young lads, though last season didn't pan out that way! Scoreline: Sunderland 1 - 1 Aston Villa U21s (Sunderland to win on penalties) Sunderland's first goalscorer: Aiden O'Brien I feel that this will be a heavily rotated side, looking to not take any knocks going into the first game of the season. Parkinson will be looking to maximise fitness all around to players like Feeney, Diamond and Neil in case they are needed to be called upon early in the season. These players will be given a chance to impress and really standout here. Still unsure on our ability to take a game by the scruff of the neck and win dominantly. Scoreline: Sunderland 3 - 0 Aston Villa U21s Sunderland's first goalscorer: Will Grigg Still, it's our last game before the season begins, and one which should see us stroll to victory ahead of the league action starting. Hopefully youngsters such as Embleton, Neil and Diamond get the full 90 and put in impressive displays - I believe they could, and should, be crucial for us this season. A good victory to give us confidence ahead of Saturday please - and a morale-lifting Grigg double.