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Oct 13, 2021 at 7pm UK
Man Utd U21sManchester United Under-21s
Dyce (50'), Wearne (66')
Almond (16'), Dyce (76')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Iqbal (57')

Preview: Sunderland vs. Manchester United Under-21s - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Sunderland vs. Manchester United Under-21s - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's EFL Trophy clash between Sunderland and Manchester United Under-21s, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Defending champions Sunderland head into their EFL Trophy fixture with Manchester United Under-21s knowing that defeat would put them on the brink of elimination.

However, the visitors find themselves in a similar position, and anything less than three points would put the Premier League academy side at risk of an early exit.

Match preview

Sunderland's focus this season is on securing promotion to the Championship, and seven wins from 10 league fixtures suggests that they have every chance of achieving that target.

Nevertheless, the Black Cats supporters would not say no to a trip to Wembley Stadium having had to miss last season's victory in this competition due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Drawn in a highly-competitive group, Sunderland recorded a 2-1 victory over Lincoln City last time out to post a potentially-crucial three points.

With a home fixture against Bradford City still to come, Johnson will be confident of eventually sealing a spot in the top two of Group F.

However, there is pressure to perform against United's prospects, particularly with Johnson still frustrated after the 4-0 reverse at Portsmouth earlier this month.

From United's perspective, a slow start against Lincoln on August 24 has left them playing catch-up, but netting two consolation goals at the end of that game gave them some momentum ahead of the trip to Bradford.

Neil Wood would have been delighted with their second-half performance at Valley Parade, United prevailing by a 3-0 scoreline at the home of the League Two side.

With Sunderland possessing a game in hand, United realistically require maximum points on their trip to the North East to extend their participation in the competition.

On a positive note, they have recorded four wins in succession, the latest success coming against Liverpool Under-23s at the start of the month.

Sunderland EFL Trophy form:
  • W

Sunderland form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Manchester United Under-21s EFL Trophy form:
  • L
  • W

Manchester United Under-21s form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

Johnson made sweeping changes to his side for the game at Lincoln with Aiden O'Brien the only player to retain his place in the Sunderland XI.

While more first-team players may feature on this occasion, Johnson will not go overboard with a trip to Gillingham to come three days later.

Elliot Embleton could return to the team in midfield, potentially replacing Harrison Sohna or Ellis Taylor.

United will be forced into naming a much-changed starting lineup with a number of players on international duty at different age groups.

Zidane Iqbal is among the prospects who are unavailable, the 18-year-old finding the back of the net for Iraq Under-23s versus Lebanon on Sunday.

However, player-coach Paul McShane will feature in the centre of the defence.

We say: Sunderland 2-1 Manchester United Under-21s

Having made light work of Bradford, United will be confident of putting on a performance at the Stadium of Light. However, we cannot ignore the experience and desire of the home side, leading us to predict a narrow victory for the League One giants.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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