Changes likely for MK Dons test
Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has thrown down the gauntlet to the club's fringe players to prove their worth in the Capital One Cup.
O'Neill is planning to ring the changes for tonight's clash against League One outfit MK Dons as the Black Cats bid to book their place in the fourth round of the competition.
The Northern Irishman has some injury problems to contend with ahead of a busy busy of action for his side which sees them play three games in the space of eight days.
Sebastian Larsson and Fraizer Campbell was both forced off in the second half of Saturday's draw at West Ham with hamstring and foot complaints respectively, and neither player will be risked this evening.
Carlos Cuellar remains sidelined with a hamstring injury along with long-term absentees Phil Bardsley (ankle) and Wes Brown (knee), while fellow defender Titus Bramble can expect to be rested as O'Neill keeps a close eye on his fitness.
The Sunderland manager said: "They [MK Dons] are a strong side who are going very well. It would be a difficult game anyway even if we had everyone to choose from, and we might have to make a couple of enforced changes.
"I really don't like doing that if at all possible, especially this early in the season. But things are forced upon us and we will try to compete as strongly as possible. We need people stepping up to the mark and coming in. Some players might feel they should be in the side. Their contribution is of paramount importance if we are going to try to get through.
"I'm hoping that throughout the whole season, players are always having to try and prove something, and I think we do that anyway both as players and managers. If it ever got to the stage where we feel we have nothing to prove, that would be a concern."