Sunderland are in Checkatrade Trophy action tonight when they travel to Grimsby Town - with both sides aiming to avoid finishing bottom of the group.
The Black Cats currently prop up Northern Group H following defeats to Scunthorpe United and Doncaster Rovers.
Aside from pride, there is nothing else riding on the game at Blundell Park (KO 7.45pm) against Town, a point and place above Sunderland Under-21s.
League Two Grimsby have been handed an injury boost with three players set to return to action.
Russell Slade has confirmed long-term absentee Jamey Osborne, who was expected to make his comeback around Christmas, will start. Sean McAllister is also set to get some playing time, while Mitch Rose could feature.
Slade told the Grimsby Telegraph: “I’ll use the squad, but obviously within the rules as we were last time.
“We will do it right, there’s no doubt about that.
“I do see it as an opportunity to give some of the other boys some match time, that’s really important to us.
“From their point of view, training week in and week out and maybe not getting the minutes that they desire, it’s an opportunity to give themselves some much-needed minutes.”
Sunderland fans can pay on the gate as the Black Cats round off their EFL Trophy campaign. Tickets are priced at £10 for adults, £5 for over 65s and full-time students with a valid ID while juniors with a full paying adult can gain entry for free.
Sunderland’s fans will be housed in the Osmond Stand.