Hartlepool United-Sunderland U23: Mika in for first Black Cats start

Mika: First Sunderland appearance
Mika: First Sunderland appearance
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Mika came in for his first start tonight in goal for Sunderland U23 in the Checkatrade Trophy derby at Hartlepool United.

The 25-year-old, who signed for the Black Cats from Boavista last month, was one of Robbie Stockdale's over-age players at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium against the League Two side.

Full-back Billy Jones was another over-age inclusion as Sunderland give game-time to the 29-year-old who has featured only once in the first team this season, as an unused sub at QPR in the EFL Cup.

Summer signing Donald Love, who started the first three Premier matches of the programme, also came into the starting XI.

Pools boss.Craig Hignett made eight changes to the Pools side which won 3-0 at Grimsby in League Two.

Already without keeper Trevor Carson and Liam Donnelly on international duty, Hignett made a raft of other alterations.

Ben Pollock and James Martin came in for their first starts at the back with loan men Tom Heardman and Brad Fewster doing likewise up front alongside skipper Billy Paynter.

Pools: Bartlett, Richards, Harrison, Pollock, Martin, Featherstone, Laurent, Hawkins, Fewster, Paynter, Heardman.
Subs: Dudzinski, Richardson, Deverdics, Walker, Green, Orrell, Blackford.
Sunderland: Mika, Jones, Brady, Ledger, T Robson, E Robson, Love, Greenwood, Honeyman, Maja, Beadling.
Subs: Strysek, Casey, Lawson, Pybus, Molyneux, Wright, J Robson
Referee: John Brooks