SUNDERLAND will enjoy a welcome distraction from an inauspicious league start when cup football comes to the Stadium of Light next week.
The Black Cats host League One side Peterborough on Tuesday in the third round of the Capital One Cup, kick-off 7.45pm.
And the game is likely to provide an opportunity for the Black Cats’ fringe players to prove their worth.
Paolo Di Canio pointed out this week that although he intended to bring Emanuele Giaccherini for the game against West Brom, he had been impressed by Charis Mavrias in the Italian winger’s absence and would look to use the young Greek in the cup game.
And although the Sunderland head coach’s overwhelming priority is to win Tuesday’s tie and progress to the last 16 of the competition, he will also look to experiment and rotate his squad.
As well as Mavrias, that could mean involvement for youngsters such as David Moberg Karlsson and El-Hadji Ba, while fellow summer signing Duncan Watmore has impressed in the Under 21s this season.
And there could also be roles to play for the likes of Cabral, Carlos Cuellar and Vito Mannone, Connor Wickham and Ji Dong-won - more senior players who have barely featured this season.
It is a competition which is important to Sunderland and Di Canio hopes his side can do well in it.
Sunderland overcame good League One opposition in the last round when they left it late to beat MK Dons 3-2 - a team which have been camped in the play-off positions this season.
But Peterborough have had an even better start to the season, with Darren Ferguson’s side going into the weekend in an automatic promotion place.
Before this Saturday’s game, (against MK Dons), the Posh had won seven of their nine league and cup game and they are likely to provide genuinely testing opposition for Sunderland on the night.
Tickets for the game are on sale priced £10 for adults and£5 for children under 16 and supporters over-65. Black Cats Bar tickets are £10 for seasonal members and £25 for others.
Supporters on the Home Cup Scheme will have their season cards automatically enabled. Season card holders who purchase a seat will not be sent a paper ticket, their card will be automatically enabled to give access to the game. There will also be cash turnstiles on the night.
H Tickets are also available now for Sunderland’s next Premier League home game at the Stadium of Light - Liverpool a week tomorrow (4pm).
Ticket prices start from £27 for adults, £23 for over 65s, £21 for under 22s and £12 for under 16s.