Sunderland boss gives Lynden Gooch, Denver Hume and Josh Scowen injury update
Sunderland's insipid FA Cup defeat has not altered Phil Parkinson's selection plans for the Papa John's Trophy clash against Fleetwood Town on Tuesday night.
While there will be a small number of senior players involved, the matchday squad will otherwise be made up of academy talents who have made a strong start to the U23 season.
Jack Diamond and Dan Neil will be involved, while Elliot Embleton is set to start as he steps up his recovery from a thigh injury.
Parkinson confirmed last week that Josh Hawkes, who signed from Hartlepool United in the summer, is also set to be in contention.
With Tom Flanagan and Conor McLaughlin away on international duty, and Luke O'Nien and Denver Hume sidelined with minor injuries, there could also be opportunities for U23 defenders.
Oliver Younger, signed from Burnley in the summer, has caught Parkinson's eye in training this season, and has been part of some matchday squads through the campaign.
Both Sunderland and Fleetwood are already through to the next round of the competition.
"I don't want to let the disappointment of the weekend to affect the plans for this week - I think that's important," Parkinson said.
"Our plans this week are to give some of our U23 players an opportunity tomorrow and there are three reasons for that.
"Firstly, they deserve it after their recent results for the U23s.
"Secondly it gives us a chance to assess them playing at first-team level, which is good for the club and for everyone in the academy.
"And thirdly, of course, we are through to the knockout stages of this competition already.
"The [selection] rules are quite forgiving, we've looked at those and players like Jack Diamond and Elliot Embleton count as senior players," he added.
"There will be a couple of first-teamers involved, but the rest of the starting XI and the bench will all be young lads."
As well as O'Nien and Hume, Sunderland were also without Lynden Gooch and Josh Scowen as they lost to Mansfield on Saturday.
Scowen is back in training after suffering a concussion in the 2-1 win over Ipswich Town, but will not play against Fleetwood.
Parkinson is hopeful that he, alongside the other injured players, will be available to face MK Dons when his side return to League One action on Saturday.
Jordan Willis is also set to play in that game, before having an injection in his patella tendon that will then see him sidelined for two to three weeks.
"In the second part of the week, the plan is to get the injured players back as close to selection as possible, and to give the other players who were rested at the weekend a good week's training so we are ready for the MK Dons game," Parkinson said.
"Luke, Goochy, and Denver all missed out at the weekend and none of those three trained on Monday.
"Josh had to sit out the FA Cup game because of the concussion protocol. He was back training on Monday, but he won't play on Tuesday night because he's had to miss some training."