Sunderland set to welcome League Two strugglers in Checkatrade Trophy
Sunderland will face League Two strugglers Notts County in the second round of the Checkatrade Trophy.
The Black Cats were handed a home tie against the Magpies in today's draw, which was made by David Prutton, Leon Britton and Steve Claridge on TalkSport2.
Victories over Carlisle United and Morecambe - plus a penalty shoot-out triumph over Stoke City U21s - saw Sunderland top Northern Group A with an unbeaten record.
That meant Jack Ross' side were guaranteed a home tie in the next round, and they will now welcome County to the Stadium of Light next month.
The League Two outfit are struggling this season, currently sitting third bottom of the fourth tier and searching for their third manager of the season after Harry Kewell and ex-Newcastle man Kevin Nolan were dismissed.
Ties are set to be played on the week commencing December 3, in the week after the Wearsiders' FA Cup second round tie at Walsall.
Meanwhile, near neighbours Newcastle United U21s - who Sunderland could meet in later rounds - have been paired with Macclesfield Town in the first knockout round.
Ross has mainly used the competition as a chance to hand youngsters valuable opportunities and increase the match fitness of some fringe players.
And Sunderland remain favourites to lift the trophy at Wembley Stadium, with bookmakers making the Black Cats' 8/1 favourites.