The Sunderland players set for Checkatrade Trophy nod & why a win would be a big boost

Alim Ozturk is set for a chance to impress in the Checkatrade Trophy
Alim Ozturk is set for a chance to impress in the Checkatrade Trophy
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James Fowler says Sunderland will head to Morecambe intent on winning the game, with the added incentive of securing a home draw in the knockout round.

The Black Cats have all but qualified from Northern Section Group A ahead of the final group game, holding a one point advantage over Stoke City U21's.

Morecambe have lost both their games in the competition so far.

A win would secure top spot for Sunderland and give them the luxury of playing at the Stadium of Light in the next round.

That game is due to be played in the week beginning December 3rd.

The Black Cats travel to Accrington Stanley the following weekend.

If Sunderland are to reach the final and secure a trip to Wembley then they would have to win four knockout games following the clash with Morecambe.

"We're still going there with the intent of winning the game," Fowler said.

"There's obviously some permutations in terms of how the group could pan out but ideally we'd want a home game [in the next round].

"There's a bit of travelling in the league so if we could avoid that in the cup it would be ideal.

"The main aim this season is to get promoted but we'll take the competition seriously."

Fowler also confirmed that a number of first team players will get the opportunity to impress ahead of the return of League One action this weekend.

"The competition will allow us to change a few players, a few that need game time with play," he said.

"We've obviously had Glenn Loovens back from injury, Bryan Oviedo has been one, Alim Ozturk, Max Power.

"We want to win the game, we'll pick a strong team balanced with some youngsters who need experience and who we need to see in a competitive environment as well.

"They play in the U23's but in terms of a competitive game, it allows us to see where they are in terms of short-term, can they make an impact in the first team or are they a longer term project."

Bali Mumba and Benjamin Kimpioka will not be available due to international commitments but a number of other youngsters were involved in the squad for the last Checkatrade Trophy fixtures.

Jack Diamond and Lee Connelly came off the bench to make their debuts while Brandon Taylor, Jake Hackett, Owen Gamble and goalkeeper Anthony Patterson were all in the squad.