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Rupert Wyman 23rd Aug 2009 - 17:28

Get ready for a Carling Cup cracker at Carrow Road

Sunderland begin their Carling Cup campaign with an away trip to Carrow Road as they face League 1 Norwich City.

As always the nature of betting on Carling Cup ties is a risky business with teams more than willing to rest their better players in preference for saving them for league matches.

Steve Bruce could well do this for the match against the Canaries and if he does and Paul Lambert doesn't follow suit then the 16/5 about a home win could be good value.

Bruce spoke of his players looking tired after Saturday's encounter at the Stadium of Light, so I would not be surprised if he takes the opportunity to make many changes to the Black Cats' line-up.

This would make the 7/10 about a Sunderland win far too short to consider backing.

The likelihood of Sunderland's main players being rested also makes the goalscoring markets look skewed and therefore some good value can be found.

Darren Bent has started the season well, scoring two in three matches and is priced at 6/5 to find the back of the net against Norwich. His strike-partner Kenwyne Jones is available at the same price as Bent after he scored a brace on Saturday in the 2-1 win against Blackburn.

However, I doubt whether either of Bruce's first choice strikers will play therefore options of Frazier Campbell (6/4 to score) and David Healy (7/4) could be value selections. Also coming into the reckoning would be Andy Reid at 5/1.

All three are quality players and even a Sunderland reserve side should in theory have too much for Norwich, but this is the Carling Cup and anything can happen. Therefore I would not want to be risking my money on the away win at 7/10.

The Canaries started the season in horrendous fashion with the infamous 7-1 hammering by Lambert's then side Colchester, a result that ultimately led to club legend Bryan Gunn getting the sack.

The Norwich board moved swiftly to recruit Lambert from their East Anglian neighbours and the early signs are promising, although things could hardly have got any worse.

A 5-2 home success over Wycombe at the weekend included new captain Grant Holt notching his fourth and fifth goals of the campaign already. The summer signing from Shrewsbury scored a hat-trick in the 4-0 victory away at Yeovil in the previous round.

Incredibly it leaves him just two short of the total achieved by last season's top goalscorer Leroy Lita. Holt is 9/4 to continue his rich vein of scoring against Sunderland.

The last five meetings between the teams have all ended 1-0. In addition the matches are usually close with the sides not being separated by more than one goal in the last 14 clashes.

Keeping these facts in mind a 1-0 win for Norwich could be the pick in a difficult match to predict at 9/1.

Whatever happens the thousands in attendance and those watching live on Sky Sports 1 at home should witness a good competitive cup tie. Here at William Hill we will have all the action covered from the first whistle to the last as you will be able to bet In-Play on a wide range of markets.

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