Dougie Freedman will now lead his side against another Barclays Premier League team, David Moyes' Everton.
The tie was decided by two goals from Marvin Sordell in the second half but the mood had already darkened within the Stadium of Light due to the lacklustre display of the home side. Sunderland fielded a strong team following a somewhat uncomfortable 2-2 draw in the first leg – Adam Johnson, Phil Bardsley and James McLean all started – but there was something inevitable about Sordell's first, a penalty after 64 minutes. He then sealed Bolton's progress nine minutes later.
Johnson had twice been denied by saves from Andrew Lonergan but the Sunderland winger was a rare threatening presence. His low cross led to a mis-hit shot from Stephane Sessegnon, while David Vaughan's effort was blocked by Zat Knight.
It was Bolton who seized the initiative after the break, though, with Sordell converting his first after a careless challenge by Jack Colback on Darren Pratley just inside the box. His second was another neat finish following a low cross from Tyrone Mears.
The npower Championship side were joined in the fourth round last night by league rivals Leeds United. The Scotland internationalist Ross McCormack turned in a cross to level the scores with Birmingham City. It was the former Motherwell striker's fifth goal of the season – and on the same day that his national team appointed a new manager, too – and the victory was sealed when El-Hadji Diouf, another player with Scottish connections having had a spell at Rangers two seasons ago, then chipped in from the penalty spot to set up a meeting with Tottenham Hotspur in the next round.
Hull City also had a Scot to thank for sealing their progress after Tom Cairney scored in extra-time to ease the club past Leyton Orient. The tie was just three minutes from a shoot-out when the midfielder scuffed a shot into the net.
However, one man who will not join his compatriots in the next round of the competition is Steve Clarke. The West Bromich Albion head coach had been left "shell-shocked" after his side fell to a 3-2 league defeat against Reading at the weekend and he will have been just as taken aback to see his side knocked out of the cup by another club loitering in the lower reaches of the Barclays Premier League, Queens Park Rangers.
Both sides traded blows at The Hawthorns – goalkeepers Boaz Myhill and Rob Green were both made remarkable saves late on – but West Brom were breached by a header from Jay Bothroyd after 75 minutes. QPR target Peter Odemwingie was introduced by Clarke in the second half but it was Graham Dorrans who would spurn a late chance for the hosts.