If Sunderland and Newcastle reach Carabao Cup third round fans will discover next opponents on Thursday - at 4.15am!

George Honeyman scores the winner against Bury in the second round.
George Honeyman scores the winner against Bury in the second round.
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Sunderland and Newcastle United are in Carabao Cup action this week - and if they progress fans face an early morning alarm clock to discover their next opponents.

Sunderland travel to League Two Carlisle United on Tuesday night, while Newcastle host Championship side Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.

If they progress to the next round fans in this country will discover the next opponents at 4.15am!

That's because the draw for the third round of the competition will take place in Beijing, China, on Thursday morning.

A Football League statement said: "The draw will take place from approximately 11:15am local time, 4:15am BST and can be followed live on the EFL’s Carabao Cup twitter feed."

Thirty-two clubs are involved in round three, with the seven Premier League sides who qualified for UEFA European competitions entering the draw, including last season’s winners Manchester United.

Round three draw is unseeded, with the first ball drawn as the home club, followed by an away club. This is repeated until there are sixteen ties, which will played week commencing 18 September 2017.

Draw numbers will be available following the completion of the second round ties on Wednesday.

The timing of the draw has sparked controversy. The EFL has moved to explain the reasons behind the decisions.

An EFL spokesman said: "We understand that not everyone will agree on the timing of this week’s Round Three Draw, but in staging in this way it will give the competition both the maximum exposure in the UK, Chinese and South East Asian markets.

"This is not only an important factor for the EFL but also our new sponsors Carabao, who, like ourselves, plan to use the growing global appeal of the competition to reach new audiences.

"Once the logistics have been completed in Beijing, the UK will be waking up and the breakfast media will be able to report and get reaction on the 16 ties that will take place next month, which we feel is an interesting move away from the usual post-game evening draws.

"The Round Three draw itself is not being televised live in China or anywhere else but the EFL will be providing full coverage across its Carabao Cup twitter feed, with news and reaction as it happens.

"Our decision to go to China is part of a strategic plan to grow the EFL internationally and specifically boost profile and exposure in ASEAN markets. A number of potentially significant meetings are being held around the draw that we envisage will deliver a benefit to all 72 Clubs of the EFL.

"As part of those meetings the EFL will stage its first summit in Asia, where potential sponsors and investors from the region will gather to be briefed on the wider opportunities the EFL can provide. This will include the showcasing of the new iFollow international streaming platform which successfully launched at the start of the season.

"We now look forward to this work developing over the course of the next few days and taking further shape in the coming weeks and months."