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Sunderland v Carlisle preview

Sunderland face the first of two home cup ties in quick succession when Carlisle United visit the Stadium of Light in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.

Recent loan signing Marcos Alonso could make his Sunderland debut against Carlisle, having been ineligible for the New Year's Day defeat to Aston Villa.

Gus Poyet may opt to rotate his squad with the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final against Manchester United to follow two days later, but defender Wes Brown is available after serving a three-game suspension.

Carlisle are likely to be without captain Paul Thirlwell, who is set to miss the meeting with his former club due to a calf injury.

The 34-year-old midfielder, who began his professional career with the Black Cats, pulled up during Carlisle's 2-1 defeat to Crewe on New Year's day.

Centre-half Sean O'Hanlon is also a doubt after missing the Crewe game with knee trouble.