Southampton away on a midweek night – could there have been worse draw for Sunderland?
Possibly, but it’s a struggle to dredge one up after the Black Cats were ‘rewarded’ for their come-from-behind 2-1 victory at QPR with a visit to St Mary’s.
But, on the field, is it a bad tie, given progress would give David Moyes and his men a place in the quarter-finals?
Sunderland should have won at Southampton last month, only to concede a late equaliser and the head-to-head cup record does not make unpleasant reading.
The overall record shows the Saints have won only two of the 11 contests, their successes coming in the last century.
It will be the third meeting inside the last four years in knock-out competitions and Sunderland will be chasing a hat-trick at the end of October.
The Blacks Cats beat Southampton 2-1 at home in November 2013 en route to Wembley in the League Cup.
Phil Bardsley and Seb Larsson bagged the second-half goals for Gus Poyet’s side with Maya Yoshida pulling a late goal back.
Gus and Sunderland clearly liked the Saints as cup opponents because just three months later, Mauricio Pochettino brought his side to the Stadium of Light for an FA Cup fifth round match.
There was only one goal in it, Craig Gardner scoring from range just after half-time though Rickie Lambert missed a late opportunity to force a replay.
Sunderland have never played at St Mary’s in the cup, but that will soon change.
The Saints made a delayed entry into the EFL Cup this week due to their European commitments and they made a convincing start, beating Crystal Palace 2-0.
Charlie Austin put Claude Puel’s team ahead from the penalty spot before Jake Hesketh clinched the win with his first senior goal in the second half.