GUS POYET has challenged those players introduced in tomorrow’s Capital One Cup clash to show they can make the difference for Sunderland in the Premier League.
Poyet will make changes for the third round visit of Stoke City to the Stadium of Light, with the likes of Costel Pantilimon, Billy Jones and Sebastian Coates all pencilled in to feature, while Will Buckley, Jozy Altidore and Jordi Gomez could also be handed starting spots.
Sunderland registered a fourth draw from five Premier League outings at Burnley on Saturday, with Poyet admitting his side need to do more than “okay” if they are to secure a first top-flight victory of the campaign.
And, with places up for grabs in the league, Poyet says there is an opportunity at the Stadium of Light tomorrow night for those who are handed a chance against the Potters.
“I wanted to wait until I saw the Burnley game (to decide on his plans for Stoke),” said Poyet.
“I watched a little bit of Stoke yesterday and I’m going to make a few changes.
“I know a few of them because there are players that cannot play three games in a row.
“But we’re going to use the squad.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for a few players to show me that I’ve made a mistake and they should be playing; the ones who are going to make us win the game in the Premier League next week.”
Poyet had made one change to his side at Burnley after Emanuele Giaccherini was handed his first start of the season, with the injured Ricky Alvarez missing out.
However, Giaccherini limped away from Turf Moor after a collision with ex-Middlesbrough striker Lukas Jutkiewicz left him unable to continue.
Giaccherini was assessed at the Academy of Light yesterday and Poyet is hopeful that the Italian international’s ankle injury is not a serious one.
Poyet added: “Giaccherini had plenty of energy, going between the lines and I think he was one of our best players.
“That was the idea of playing him; to create that little bit more. He was thereabouts, so it’s not bad from him.
“Unfortunately, he took a big knock.”
Alvarez was injured in training after being worked hard last week to bring him up to speed, following his loan arrival from Inter Milan.
There is a chance Alvarez could be involved against Stoke, but Steven Fletcher is likely to miss out after suffering a calf strain in training on Friday.
* Sunderland Under-21s host Tottenham at Eppleton CW tonight (7pm), still looking for their first win of the season.
Robbie Stockdale’s lads lost 1-0 at home to Liverpool, to a last-minute goal, before drawing at Manchester City but were swamped by an Adnan Januzaj-inspired Manchester United at Old Trafford last Monday night.
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