Steve Parkin on Sunderland's 'great opportunity' to progress in Carabao Cup ahead of Oxford United test
Steve Parkin is expecting a ‘different challenge’ for Sunderland against promotion rivals Oxford United in Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup last-16 clash.
The Black Cats head to the Kassam Stadium on the back of the 1-0 defeat to Shrewsbury Town, a frustrating afternoon that saw Sunderland suffer their fourth away defeat of the league campaign.
The schedule has been relentless since Phil Parkinson and his assistant Steve Parkin took charge and it shows no signs of slowing down this week.
Oxford have won their last three games and sit fifth in the third tier but Parkin insists Sunderland have a ‘great opportunity’ to progress in the competition (KO 7.45pm).
Parkin, deputising for Parkinson at the pre-match press conference, said: “This is a different challenge against an in-form team, who are scoring goals.
“This is a great opportunity for our lads to progress in a fantastic competition.
“We got to the final with Bradford and took confidence from it, a big thing is momentum and getting on a run – it’s a great habit is winning games.
“It’s against someone in our division and hopefully we go through."
Parkin added: “It’s about winning games and me and Phil want the team to create as many opportunities as possible for the front players.
“We need quality crosses in the box rather than being from deep, but we had good opportunities in the second half.”
Oxford, meanwhile, have received mixed news on the injury front.
Chris Cadden is expected to be rested as a precaution following a hamstring injury, while there are concerns over Cameron Brannagan, who is still struggling with a knee problem.
Oxford head coach Karl Robinson said: "It's always difficult to replace players with that quality.
"But we'll deal with it - I didn't think we'd cope with losing Ben Woodburn for a period of time, but we seem to have found a way of managing that."
* Sunderland U18s will take on Tranmere Rovers in round one of the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday night.
The Black Cats face the Merseyside club on Tuesday 29 October at Eppleton CW, Hetton, in a 7pm KO.
Entry to the game £3 for adults and £1 for concessions.