Jack Rodwell is amongst a host of senior players in Elliott Dickman’s squad. Picture: safc.com

Sunderland under-21s face a trip to Grimsby Town with pride the only thing at stake following their early Checkatrade Trophy exit.

The Black Cats were dumped out of the trophy last month courtesy of a 1-0 defeat at Doncaster Rovers, leaving them bottom of their group with no points to their name after losing 3-1 to Scunthorpe United in their opening game.

Sunderland have enjoyed an upturn in form after a poor start to the season, winning three from their last five in all competitions with the most recent game a 2-1 win over Exeter under-23s in the Premier League Cup.

As a result of their early exit from the tournament Sunderland are largely playing for pride against the Mariners, who are also out of the tournament amassing just one point after their penalty shootout defeat to Doncaster.

The Black Cats are set to include some senior players in their squad for the game with Jack Rodwell, Donald Love, Mika and Brendan Galloway the men to have featured in the tournament so far.

Elliott Dickman, who takes over due to Robbie Stockdale’s role as first-team joint-caretaker manager, told safc.com: “It is important we focus on ourselves and enjoy the experience of playing against a first team and being in that environment.

“It is always difficult to predict what Grimsby will do because they are a first team and they have senior players. They will be a lot more experienced then what we are.

“We are going to have some experienced players involved and hopefully those lads will help the younger ones out.”

League Two Grimsby come into the game on the back of an FA Cup First Round defeat at Plymouth Argyle  and are unbeaten in their last seven league games, but have won just two of those.

Russell Slade’s side sit 12th in League Two after 16 games and lie four points below the play-off places.

Attacking midfielder Sam Jones is the Mariners’ top scorer this season with five goals in 15 appearances, while second top scorer Siriki Dembélé has three goals to his name, although the latter will miss the game due to a hamstring problem.

Former Black Cats defender Danny Collins is set to face his old club on Wednesday evening, while wide midfielder Mitch Rose is set to return to the side following an ankle injury.