Sunderland progressed to round four of the Carabao Cup with a thoroughly deserved 2-0 victory at Wigan.
The clash pitted the top two in League One against each other, but a total of 17 changes – eight to Sunderland, nine to Wigan – showed where it lay on the respective list of priorities.
Right from the off, Sunderland were first to every ball, with Aiden O’Brien seeing a 25-yard effort flash just wide of Ben Amos’ right-hand post.
O’Brien was then involved in Sunderland’s opening goal on 26 minutes, when he appeared to be in an offside position as he chased a long ball.
Wisely he allowed team-mate Nathan Broadhead to take delivery of the pass instead, and the finish from the on-loan Everton player whistled into the far corner of the net.
Dennis Cirkin almost doubled the lead within moments, seeing a rasping drive tipped over by Amos.
A mistake from Jason Kerr – making his debut after a deadline day move from St Johnstone – then allowed Leon Dajaku to race through on goal, only for Amos to again halt him.
Whatever Wigan boss Leam Richardson said at the break made little difference, with the visitors picking up where they had left off at half-time.
Nine minutes after the restart, Luke O’Nien finished off a lovely team move with a fine finish.
And only desperate defending in the final quarter prevented Sunderland from underlining their superiority further.
When is the draw for the Carabao Cup fourth round?
The fourth-round draw will take place after Manchester United’s third-round clash with West Ham on Wednesday night; kick-off 7.45pm. The draw will be live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football.
- Fourth round: October 26 and 27
- Quarter-finals: December 21 and 22
- Semi-finals: January 4/5 and 11/12
- Final: February 27