Exeter City head to the Stadium of Light for a League Cup second-round tie on Tuesday aiming to pile further misery on early Premier League strugglers Sunderland.
Dick Advocaat’s Sunderland have endured a dreadful start to the new season and sit second bottom of the table after three games.
Sunderland shipped seven goals in the opening two matches following a 4-2 loss to Leicester City and a 3-1 defeat to Norwich City.
Improvements were made in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Swansea City, but Exeter manager Paul Tisdale has made it clear that he does not fear Sunderland.
The League Two side have already sprung a surprise having beaten League One outfit Swindon Town 2-1 away from home in the first round.
And Tisdale, whose side have taken seven points from their opening four league games, is hopeful his players can continue their upward momentum against a team three divisions above them.
“It will be a great opportunity for us, and it’s a nice problem to have,” Tisdale told Exeter’s official website.
“We’re certainly not viewing it as a distraction to us, and it’s one that we want to win.
“We rested [midfielder] David Noble against York [City – a 0-0 draw on Saturday], and the likes of [defender Jordan] Tillson and [midfielder Emmanuel] Oyeleke have come in.
“Hopefully we’ll have [midfielder] David Wheeler and David Noble back for Sunderland, and we’ll just look to play our football in the way we do.”
John O’Shea made his first appearance of the season in the stalemate with Swansea, helping shore up the Sunderland backline.
And the former Manchester United centre-back is confident the 2014 finalists can secure cup progression in front of their home fans.
“The manager I’m sure will take each game separately,” O’Shea told Sunderland’s official website.
“We have Exeter now, we look at that to get a win, move on to the next round of the cup.
“Whoever we are playing against in the cup if you have a home draw you want to get the win and move on.”
O’Shea filled in for Younes Kaboul, who has a knee injury, and he is joined on the sidelines by winger Adam Johnson (shoulder) and midfielder Jordi Gomez (knee).
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