Jack Ross hopeful on injuries to key Sunderland pair ahead of return to league action
Jack Ross hopes to have Lynden Gooch and Aiden McGeady available for the visit of Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
The pair missed the disappointing 1-0 defeat to Walsall on Tuesday night with muscle injuries.
Their attacking invention was badly missed as the Black Cats turned in a poor display.
Ross admits he would far rather they play on Saturday as he looks to cut the gap to Portsmouth at the top of the League One table.
"Both were muscle injuries from the weekend," he said.
"I wanted to win the game, I won't say I didn't and that going out of the cup is irrelevant to me.
"Far from it.
"It stings not to win the game and be out of the competition.
"But, and I'm stating the obvious here, I would rather have Aiden and Lynden available for the league game on Saturday.
"They should be fine for Saturday."
Ross says it hurt to exit the competition but admits that not having to rearrange a league fixture will come to be seen as a bonus.
Sunderland will travel to Charlton Athletic for a League One game on the weekend of the third round.
"I have said that the league is a priority, but it's not a night to focus on that," he said.
"It would be disrespectful to Walsall because I didn't pick a team not to progress.
"We wanted to win.
"But once the dust settles, and when we have a league game on January 5 rather than a cup game with another league one to squeeze in, it's not the worst thing in the world.
"It feels like it now, because we've not lost many this season and not many in this stadium, so it hurts.
"But there is a plus side to it in some ways."