Tonight, League One side Bury play host to Championship outfit Sunderland, as they bid to pull off one of the shocks of the first round of the Carabao Cup.
There has been a fair bit of change at Bury this summer, with James Vaughan, top scorer for the Shakers last season, joining tonight’s opponents Sunderland for an undisclosed fee. Meanwhile, a number of experienced pros have also left to seek pastures new, including Paul Caddis, Paul Rachubka and Ishmael Miller.
Lee Clark has delved into the transfer market to replace these men, making 18 summer signings. Winger Harry Bunn has joined from Huddersfield Town, having played 16 times for the Terriers as they won promotion to the Premier League, while Chris Maguire has signed from League One rivals Oxford United, among others. It is likely that Shakers fans will be able to see many of these new men in action against the Black Cats tonight.
Bury opened their account for the season with a 1-0 victory at home to Walsall, with the game’s only goal coming from Jermaine Beckford in first-half stoppage time. The victory could have been a lot more convincing, but Beckford and then Maguire both missed penalties, however, they’ll take confidence from their performance as they look to provide one of the competition’s only cup upsets so far this evening.
Meanwhile, Sunderland came from behind in their opening game of the campaign to draw 1-1 against Derby County at the Stadium of Light, with the Black Cats including six new signings in their starting line-up. One of these new signings was goal-scorer Lewis Grabban, who scored a penalty, awarded rather controversially after a handball by Rams midfielder Jacob Butterfield. Their performance in this game, particularly in the first half, was admirable and will have provided boss Simon Grayson with plenty of food for thought ahead of tonight’s Carabao Cup encounter.
Grayson will want to take this competition seriously, as he aims to restore some pride into a side that finished bottom of the Premier League last season with just six league wins all campaign.
Nevertheless, Lee Clark will hope his men can excite the neutrals in front of the cameras tonight, and prevent James Vaughan from coming back to haunt his former team.