The inside track on Sunderland and how Sheffield Wednesday can claim cup victory

Lynden Gooch is one to watch for Sunderland
Lynden Gooch is one to watch for Sunderland
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Sunderland take on Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup clash - but what should the Owls be expecting?

Ahead of the meeting at the Stadium of Light this evening, we've called upon Mark Donnelly - a Digital Journalist in the North East - to provide his take on the clash.

And there's good news for Wednesday with some weak links revealed.

How well have Sunderland been playing recently?

"In the unfamiliar surroundings of League One, it could have taken Sunderland some time to adapt.

"But the reality has been quite to the contrary, with the Black Cats starting off the campaign on a strong footing.

"Four points from their opening two games - both of which were against teams tipped for promotion - offers plenty of encouragement ahead of the remaining 44 outings.

"New boss Jack Ross has been keen to implement a new style of play at the Stadium of Light, and Sunderland’s attractive attacking football has paid dividends thus far.

"It’s early days, but the signs are promising."

Who have been Sunderland’s key players this season, and what should we expect to see from them?

"It’s very much been a case of youth coming to the fore for the Black Cats, with striker Josh Maja looking extremely lively.

"As the only striker who is currently fully fit, the 19-year-old has been carrying the responsibility of being Sunderland’s lone striker in their opening two games - but has repaid the faith shown in him with two goals.

"He isn’t expected to start against Wednesday as Ross reshuffles, but fellow attacker Lynden Gooch may well be selected.

"The American impressed in the Championship and has carried that form into the League One season. Dynamic, creative and aggressive, he’s certainly one to watch.

"A special word for Bali Mumba too, with the 16-year-old continuing to defy his age with mature performances in the centre of park. He’s a real glimmer of hope for the future of Sunderland."

What kind of line-up should fans expect to see when Sunderland play Sheffield Wednesday? Are there are any injury doubts or selection headaches?

"With Sunderland facing three important league games in the space of six days following this cup clash, expect Ross to make plenty of changes.

"While the Scot was keen not to discredit the competition during his pre-match press conference, he heavily hinted at changes.

"The likes of Maja, Mumba and former Owl Glenn Loovens could all be rested, with youngsters Luke Molyneux and Ethan Robson lined-up for minutes alongside Reece James, who is returning from injury.

"It could be an experimental one."

Are there are any noticable weak links which Sheffield Wednesday will be looking to exploit?

"The aforementioned inclusion of James - who has played just 45 minutes of football since picking up an injury - could see Wednesday target Sunderland’s left hand side.

"Alim Ozturk, who could return to the side if Loovens is rested, has also looked shaky in his opening few outings.

"If Jos Luhukay has done his homework properly then the Turk may well be targeted."

What kind of home support should we expect to see turn out at the Stadium of Light?

"Despite relegation to the third tier for the first time in three decades, Sunderland’s home support has, if anything, increased.

"Galvanised by a new regime behind the scenes, Black Cats fans snapped up over 22,000 season tickets and a crowd of over 30,000 saw the opening day win over Charlton.

"While the fact the game is televised may reduce the crowd, still expect a vocal supporter base to back Sunderland."

Prediction time! What kind of game are you expecting when Sunderland play Sheffield Wednesday and what do you think the final score will be?

"With both teams set to make changes it’s difficult to predict.

"But Sunderland’s youngsters are keen to impress and, with confidence flowing through Jack Ross’ men, they may well spring a surprise.

"I’ll stick my neck out and go for a 1-0 home win."