Sunderland boss out to avoid repeat of cup shock to Shrewsbury Town
Saturday, January 4, 2003 is a date that lives long in the memory of David Moyes.
The now Sunderland boss had just witnessed his Everton team humiliated and dumped out of the FA Cup at the third round stage by a Shrewsbury Town side seventh from bottom of the Third Division.
Moyes admits it was a real low point in his otherwise successful spell in charge at Goodison Park.
And he is looking to avoid another cup shock when fellow Scot Micky Mellon brings his League One Shrewsbury side to the Stadium of Light tonight (7.45pm kick-off) in the second round of the EFL Cup.
Moyes is targeting a win and will play a strong side, with his options of making wholesale changes limited due to the chronic injury list.
“It was one of my first FA Cup ties for Everton, we lost and it was a real down moment to lose there,” reflected Moyes, whose Everton side were fifth in the Premier League at the time.
“You want to try and progress in the cups, no matter what anybody says, and you may want to give people some games, but you want to progress.
“I have always wanted to get to every cup final, in the main, the next game is always the most important one.”
Sunderland have tasted back-to-back defeats from their opening Premier League games against Manchester City and Middlesbrough.
But the EFL Cup brings a welcome break from league action ahead of Saturday’s trip to Southampton.
Asked if he has the team to progress, he said: “Yeah, you should but quite often that doesn’t happen.
“You can look back every year and see plenty of teams that don’t get through.
“I thought we played well at times against Middlesbrough and there was a lot of good things about our attacking play, having had the chance to watch it back.
“We didn’t finish it off.
“If we can attack the way we did and take some of those chances then hopefully we can get some goals.”
Aside from being dumped out of the FA Cup with Everton, Moyes has a stronger link with Shrewsbury – he used to captain them.
The last time the two sides met, in 1989, Moyes was in the visiting defence as Sunderland ran out 2-1 winners at Roker Park.
Moyes, who spent three years as a player at Shrewsbury, said: “I had a good time there and met some really good people, at the old ground on the river.
“Our first home was there. I have a lot of good memories there and really enjoyed it.
“I know Micky Mellon quite well – they will play good football.
“They are a decent team and it will be a hard enough game for us, that’s for sure.”
Jermain Defoe is set to be rested, while Vito Mannone is out with an elbow injury but aside from that Moyes will be picking from the same squad beaten by Middlesbrough at the weekend.
Sunderland have, of course, a proud recent history in the League Cup, having reached the final in 2014, only to be beaten by Manchester City.
“Sometimes when you start you don’t always play the best, but it is to try and get through into the next round and another game,” said Moyes.
“We will definitely try and get through and win. We have roughly the same group of players. We will try and protect one or two.
“We don’t have many changes we can make from the group we have got.
“The teams in these games become much more equal, also, you play sometimes some young players to get the experience and because of that you do take a little bit of a risk.
“If you don’t give them a chance in these games, then where do they get the opportunity?
“As it is, we have blooded the youngsters in the Premier League and we were unfortunate against Manchester City and Middlesbrough.”