James Vaughan says the hairs on the back of his neck will stand up when he hears Z-Cars tonight – but the Sunderland striker is determined to mark his Goodison Park return with a Carabao Cup victory.
Vaughan is Everton’s youngest goalscorer, a title he wrested from Wayne Rooney in 2005 with a clinical finish against Crystal Palace on his Premier League debut aged 16 years and 271 days.
He eventually left for Norwich in 2011, having scored seven goals in 47 top-flight appearances for the Blues – and is now leading the line for Sunderland following a summer move from League One Bury.
The Wearsiders began their Carabao Cup campaign with victory over Bury, before beating Carlisle United last month to set up the third-round date with Ronald Koeman’s team.
“As soon as the draw was made I was really excited,” Vaughan told evertonfc.com. “I cannot wait for the game and I am sure it will be a good one.
“One thing I have really missed about Everton is hearing Z-Cars when you come out onto the pitch. It makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and I am looking forward to experiencing that again.
“But I will have that extra bit in me where I want to do well in front of what I would say – aside from the Sunderland supporters – are as close to my home fans as I could get.”
Vaughan spent two seasons with Norwich before completing a move to Huddersfield. After more than two years in west Yorkshire, the Everton Academy graduate switched to Birmingham, originally on loan.
But following a short-lived stay in the Midlands he opted to drop into League One with Bury in order to kick-start his career. And after a prolific campaign at Gigg Lane he joined up with a Sunderland team that has undergone a significant facelift following relegation from the Premier League last term.
The Black Cats have nevertheless endured a tough start to their Championship season, winning only one and losing four of their eight games.
But Vaughan won enormous praise from boss Simon Grayson for “climbing off his sickbed” following a stomach bug to score in Saturday’s creditable 1-1 draw at Hull.
“I had a couple options to stay in the Championship last year but thought it would be better to drop down, play some games and score some goals,” said Vaughan.
“Luckily for me it paid off and I have been rewarded with a good move to Sunderland.
“We have a group of players who want to be here and work for the shirt. One thing you will get from us every week is 100 per cent commitment and, hopefully, that will be good enough to get us the results we need.
“You could say the pressure is off us a bit coming to Goodison – but half our squad seems to have played for Everton at one point or another, so we are all really looking forward to the game.
“We will take it really seriously and we want to win the match as much as any other. And it is a good chance to go out there and show what we are about.”