"They've had a tricky start, but there's still plenty of quality down there," he told safc.com. "It'll be tough but we'll go there with the belief we can get something from the game.
"I came on as a sub in the game last year, which was a great experience - the Emirates is one of those great stadiums you want to play in. Hopefully I can go one better this time and start the game." Sunderland assistant youth coach Elliott Dickman admits they get a great buzz from seeing academy players make it as senior pros.
It's the end result which perhaps gives Dickman the most pleasure - seeing years of work pay fruit when a young player makes his way into the first team.
"It's fantastic - I remember Jordan [Henderson] as a nine-year-old; Jack [Colback] was 10 or 11, there's Martyn Waghorn and many more," he explained to safc.com.
"As staff we get a buzz every time one of the young players is involved in the first team.
"But there are a few players out there too who have come through our system and gone on to make careers in the game elsewhere.
"We want our boys to have a career and we take a lot of pride when we check the Sunday papers and see names we know and have helped to bring through."