The first round of the Carabao Cup concludes on Thursday night and Tom Carnduff is backing a youngster to strike for Sunderland.
Sunderland v Sheffield Wednesday recommended bets
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Sunderland v Sheffield Wednesday (1945 BST, Stadium of Light, Sky Sports Football)
The first round of the Carabao Cup reaches its conclusion at the Stadium of Light on Thursday night as Sunderland host Sheffield Wednesday.
Jos Luhukay has hinted at wholesale changes for his Wednesday side, while Jack Ross' search for a striker could see him turn to a youngster who is more than capable of finding the net.
With two forwards out injured, and another one set to be rested, this game could be the perfect platform for young star Luke Molyneux to step-up and introduce himself to the Sunderland faithful.
Primarily a winger, Molyneux should be involved in this one from the start, and what makes this an intriguing bet is that he could be asked to play in a more central role.
Charlie Wyke and Jerome Sinclair are definitely out of the contest - and Ross is unsure whether to risk Josh Maja given their frustrating search for a striker in the loan market so far.
Billy Sharp rejected a move from Sheffield United, while Manchester United's James Wilson opted to join Aberdeen for the duration of the season on-loan.
At 4/1, Molyneux looks overpriced if he does find himself occupying that centre-forward position.
The 20-year-old has had a handful of short stints off the bench for the first-team, but his record at youth team level shows why he is highly-rated at the club.
He scored six goals in 15 appearances for Sunderland in Premier League 2 last season, the majority of which coming when he did play in that preferred right-wing position.
When he switched to an out-an-out striker against Leicester City U23, Molyneux netted a brace in a 4-1 hammering of the Foxes.
Ross could turn to him to fill the centre-forward role against Sheffield Wednesday, and given the fact that the opposition should make a number of changes and turn to youth themselves, Molyneux can take confidence in his ability to strike.
Speaking to the Sheffield Star, Wednesday boss Jos Luhukay stated: "We now have four games in 10 days. It is a very fast turnaround.
"Every player in this small squad will get chances in the next games that we have. We must look at what is best for the team."
The likes of Daniel Pudil, Barry Bannan and Fernando Forestieri are likely to be rested despite the Owls aiming for their first win of the season. Joe Wildsmith, Frederik Nielsen, Connor O'Grady and Jordan Thorniley could all come in.
Cup games are always unpredictable occasions which does make them slightly harder to predict than league fixtures. However, based on the changes expected from both sides, Sunderland look tempting around the 29/20 mark to wrap up victory.
Score prediction: Sunderland 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday (Sky Bet odds: 9/1)
Best bet: Luke Molyneux to score anytime at 4/1
- Sunderland’s 1-3 loss to Sheffield Wednesday at the Stadium of Light last term was their first home defeat against Wednesday since August 1969.
- Sheffield Wednesday will be looking to win consecutive competitive away trips to Sunderland for the first time since 1914.
- Sunderland will be making their first home appearance in the first round of the League Cup since a 3-0 win vs Chester City in August 2004.
- Sheffield Wednesday have won seven of their last 10 League Cup matches against teams from a lower division (L3).
- On the road, Sheffield Wednesday have lost three consecutive away League Cup games, shipping two or more goals in each match.
Odds correct at 1220 BST (15/08/18)