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Sunderland 2 Birmingham 0

Jordan Henderson and Fraizer Campbell opened their Sunderland accounts as the Black Cats cruised past Birmingham into the Carling Cup fourth round.

The 19-year-old midfielder and the £6million striker had the game sewn up within 23 first-half minutes as a much-changed City side offered little resistance in front of a crowd of just 20,576 at the Stadium of Light.

They might have won even more comfortably had Northern Ireland keeper Maik Taylor not denied Kenwyne Jones with his legs, or had defender John Mensah's 57th-minute strike not been chalked off for a foul.

Manager Steve Bruce, who had bemoaned his team's inability to produce a 90-minute performance in the wake of their 3-1 league defeat at Burnley on Saturday, looked on as they did not even have to turn it on for 45 minutes to secure their place in the hat.

Bruce, of course, left his job at St Andrew's in November 2007 and the respective priorities of the two managers became clear when the teams were announced.

Bruce, who believes the Carling Cup represents his side's best chance of winning something this season, made just four changes to the team which started at Burnley and even then brought in Jones, for whom Tottenham were prepared to pay £15million in January, seasoned internationals Mensah and Paulo da Silva, and promising youngster Henderson.

By contrast, opposite number Alex McLeish, whose main focus is simply Premier League survival, rested seven of the men who played at Hull at the weekend.

Belfast Telegraph

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