Carlisle: Graham Kavanagh hopes Sunderland tie boosts crowds

Carlisle manager Graham Kavanagh hopes drawing Sunderland in the FA Cup helps boost the club's falling attendances.

Almost 5,000 fans saw Carlisle's League One curtain raiser with Leyton Orient, but a total of just 6,644 have attended their last two home league matches.

Carlisle's FA Cup reward

Carlisle last faced a top-flight club in the FA Cup in 2010. They were eight minutes from bringing Everton back to Brunton Park for a replay before two late goals sealed a 3-1 win for the Toffees.

They travel to Wearside in the FA Cup third round, and Cumbrian non-leaguers Barrow took 8,000 there in 2010.

"I hope we get a big following, it's a great opportunity for people from the area to support Carlisle," he said.

"It's a fantastic cup tie. It whets the appetite for everyone involved with the club and can generate some interest."

Carlisle reached the third round by beating Brentford and Kavanagh has admitted that he remains fond of former club Sunderland.

As a player, the Irishman won the Championship with the Black Cats in 2007.

"I still live over that way and I have a lot of friends who are Mackems," he told BBC Radio Cumbria.

"It's a club that's close to my heart and I always look for their results so personally I am excited by the draw."