While Oxford thrashed West Ham United in the previous round, Sunderland have reached this stage with wins over Burnley and Sheffield United.
There would have been times over the past 12 months when Karl Robinson may have felt fortunate to keep his job at Oxford, but it now appears that the Yellows are beginning to peak under his guidance.
An eight-match unbeaten run has been put together in the third tier, a period of form which has moved the club into fifth position in the standings.
A 4-0 demolition of West Ham was also recorded last month, and Oxford will feel like they are in the perfect position to extend their participation in the tournament even further.
While Robinson will be delighted that several members of his side are contributing in the final third, Tarique Fosu-Henry has starred with seven goals coming from his last seven outings.
As for Sunderland, this game represents just the fourth of Phil Parkinson's reign, and the newly-appointed boss is already under pressure to deliver at the Stadium of Light.
Despite the 5-0 thrashing of Tranmere Rovers, narrow away defeats have been suffered at the hands of Wycombe Wanderers and Shrewsbury Town respectively.
Given that they sit in eighth spot in the table, Sunderland's priorities lie in the league, and this will be seen as a welcome distraction from attempting to gain promotion to the Championship.
Nevertheless, like with Oxford, this is a rare opportunity to go deep in a cup competition, and Parkinson will build his standing with the fans if he can help the club closer to another appearance at Wembley.
Oxford United form: WDDWWW
Sunderland form: WLWLWL
Parkinson has revealed that goalkeeper Lee Burge will be absent on Tuesday night after suffering a thigh injury against Shrewsbury.
Cameron Brannagan is a major doubt for Oxford having been forced off with a knee injury at the weekend.
Oxford United possible starting lineup: Eastwood; Long, Dickie, Mousinho, Ruffles; Henry, Gorrin, Baptiste; Sykes, Mackie, Fosu
Sunderland possible starting lineup: McLaughlin; O'Nien, Willis, Lynch, Hume; Dobson, Power; Watmore, Maguire, McGeady; McNulty
We say: Oxford United 2-1 Sunderland
With Sunderland in a period of transition after a change in manager, we feel that Oxford are best placed to progress through to the last eight. However, it should be a competitive affair, with the home side perhaps edging it in the closing stages.
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