Wednesday’s 1-0 home defeat to Aston Villa condemned Gus Poyet’s side to their twelfth league loss of the season with the Black Cats having only won one of their last nine Premier League matches as they sit rooted at the bottom, four points from safety.
Sunderland have, however, fared better in cup competitions this season reaching the semi-final of the League Cup where they will face Manchester United, while they have been given a generous tie against League One outfit Carlisle with Poyet hoping to win the competition he won with Chelsea back in 2000.
Carlisle travel over from Cumbria in not too dissimilar form as they sit 15th in League One having lost three of the last four, with the most recent being a disappointing 2-1 defeat away to Crewe.
The club’s managing director recently stated that the club had overspent since Graham Kavanagh became manager in September and players must be sold this month, therefore, if the Blues were able to produce an upset over their Premier League opponents, it would come as a much needed boost economically for the club.
The pair have been drawn together in the cup on three occasions, with each game going to a replay. Carlisle have come away victors once while Sunderland have progressed twice, winning 3-1 the last time out in 1995.
KICK-OFF: Sunday, 2:00pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Carlisle 1 (Walling) Sunderland 3 (Armstrong 2, Gray), FA Cup 3 Round Replay, January 1995
Sunderland 1 (Russell) Carlisle 1 (Davey), FA Cup 3 Round, January 1995
Carlisle 0 Sunderland 1 (Howey), FA Cup 3 Round Replay, January 1994
Sunderland have received the most red cards in the Premier League this season (5), the same number as Carlisle who have played four more games (24) with forward Lee Miller been shown red three times.
Both sides have claimed six points from their last six league games – Sunderland W1 D3 L2, Carlisle W2 L4.
Carlisle have only won two away games this season whilst Sunderland have won one more than that at home (3).
Sunderland to win: 1.33
Carlisle to win: 9.0
TV: Highlights on ITV at 10:45pm