Keith Curle summoned the spirit of Anfield as he insisted Carlisle United would not be overawed by Sunderland tonight.

The Blues are aiming to pull off a Carabao Cup shock tonight against Simon Grayson's Championship side (Brunton Park, 7.45pm).

And while Curle said his team will respect the Black Cats, United's recent record in this competition means they have nothing to fear.

The Blues have never lost over 90 minutes to higher-league opposition in the League Cup under Curle - their most famous night coming when they bravely took Liverpool to penalties two seasons ago.

United's boss said: "Sunderland are a fantastic football club with good owners and a very good manager.

"They've spent a lot of time in the Premier League, and back in the day when I used to play against them it was always a difficult place to go to.

"We will show them a lot of respect but we don't fear anybody. Will we be starry-eyed and stand off them? I don’t think we've done that in any of the games - such as when we represented Carlisle at Anfield against a host of superstars.

"We enjoyed ourselves that night and played a brand of football that was pleasing for the owners and supporters of Carlisle. That is what we're trying to maintain and bring to the club."

Tonight sees Sunderland visit Brunton Park for the first time in a competitive game since successive FA Cup third round replays in 1994 and 1995.

As well as eyeing a money-spinning upset, Curle is also hoping for a bumper crowd that can boost his transfer coffers.

He added: "On Saturday [against Cheltenham] there were probably a few non-attenders because of the opportunity to come to the Sunderland game.

"We hope that's the case. It's a good opportunity for supporters to come out and compete at a level where we've got aspirations to get to. We want to be playing against Sunderlands, Middlesbroughs, Newcastles and Leedses week in, week out.

"The infrastructure we're putting in place is taking us in the right direction but we don't get ahead of ourselves. We know where we are, we know the competitive level we have out there. We haven't got players on thousands and thousands a week with a budget spiralling out of control.

"We're competitive with the budget and try and make the most of it, be clever with the personnel we bring in."

United have won their last three games and in-form winger Reggie Lambe, who has scored in his last two outings, says confidence is high.

The Bermudan said: "They [Sunderland] are a higher-league side but any team coming here, we think we can turn them over.

"As long as we pass the ball like we have been doing, we can get them chasing.

"I'm looking forward to it and I'm sure the rest of the lads can't wait."

United's trip to Lincoln on Saturday, meanwhile, is all-ticket, with no sales on the day of the game.

Carlisle have an initial 1,056-seat allocation with prices £18 adult, £14 60+, £7 student/under-18.