Sunderland boss David Moyes targets EFL Cup boost
David Moyes is hoping an extended EFL Cup run can revive Sunderland's Premier League fortunes just as it did three seasons ago.
Then head coach Gus Poyet guided the Black Cats to the League Cup final in March 2014 and although they lost 3-1 to Manchester City at Wembley, they finished the campaign with a momentum which brought them four league wins in the last five games and saw them finish in 14th place, five points clear of the drop zone.
Current boss Moyes takes his beleaguered side to Southampton on Wednesday evening having collected just two of the first 27 points on offer and sitting at the foot of the table.
But asked if the club's continued presence in the competition this time around could belatedly kick-start their season, he said: "Yes, I think it can.
"Look, I genuinely want to go and get through. It's a tough game, a tough draw for us to go away to Southampton. I think if we were at home we would be saying 'We'll have a bit of that'.
"But going to Southampton, the form they are in at the moment... I don't know what they'll do, but they have had a really busy schedule with being in Milan, being at Manchester City.
"They have got a good squad, they have got good players, but my feeling is they will probably change their team as well."
A small squad remains depleted by injury with full-back Patrick van Aanholt and midfielder Jack Rodwell potentially adding to the casualty list as they nurse adductor and calf problems respectively.
Nevertheless, Moyes will attempt to protect some of his key men ahead of Arsenal's league visit to the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
He added: "I want to get through in the cup, I really do, but if possible I'd like to probably leave out John O'Shea, Jermain Defoe and Steven Pienaar depending on what availability I've got. They are all in their mid-30s, so I have to consider that with those three as well.
"If we were in a cup final, I think they'd all be wanting to play. They wouldn't be complaining about needing a rest then.
"We don't have European games here - I hope we do in the future - so there's no big reason for resting loads of players here, there are not big reasons for it.
"But our league position means that I do have to be careful with some of the players, and especially while we haven't got a lot to select from."