Young Bradley Lowery wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
With no television coverage, fans were reduced to waiting for the Carabao Cup Twitter account to announce the fixtures one by one. The announcement was scheduled for 4:15am BST but the first names didn’t get drawn until almost half an hour later.
The second fixture drawn was Everton vs Sunderland, two teams that have gotten very familiar with each other in recent months. The matches in the Third Round are scheduled for the week of September 18th.
Little Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery caught the nation’s attention with how bravely he bore his illness, and certainly captured the hearts of Everton fans who adopted the lad as one of their own. He went on to inspire millions across the world with his battle against neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancer, before sadly succumbing to the disease last month.
Goodison Park will host a charity event on September 3rd during the upcoming international break with proceeds from the game will benefit both the Bradley Lowery Foundation and Everton in the Community.
Meanwhile, a number of former Everton players ended up at Sunderland as the club sadly plummeted to relegation from the Premier League last season - Bryan Oviedo and Darron Gibson in January, with Joleon Lescott, Jack Rodwell, Steven Pienaar, Victor Anichebe, and James Vaughan also at the Stadium of Light at various points recently.
And then during this offseason, the Blues brought in the Black Cats’ star goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, making him the most expensive English goalkeeper of all time.
Aiden McGeady went the other way, while defenders Tyias Browning and Brendan Galloway also joined Sunderland on season-long loans.
The match will come at a hectic time for the Toffees - if they can overcome Hajduk Split later today, they’ll have a Europa League group game on Thursday 14th September, followed by a trip to Manchester United on Sunday 17th September, then this game against Sunderland likely on Wednesday 20th September before hosting AFC Bournemouth on Saturday 23rd September.