I don’t know about you, but I am still suffering from an almighty emotional hangover after one of the greatest nights to be a Sunderland supporter there has been for a long, long, long, long time. However distracted we may be from our date with destiny at Wembley in little over a month’s time, there are still the pressing matters of Premier League survival and potentially a second cup run to look forward to. The FA Cup returns as Kidderminster Harriers stand in our way of a 5th round berth.
Yes, everything really is rosy here on Wearside, incredible considering our league position and the entire club’s situation just three or four months earlier. The age-old and rather dull metaphor ‘rollercoaster ride’ doesn’t come close to describing exploits of our 2013-14 campaign so far. Set aside the league and the Capital One Cup as best you can because this season’s FA Cup really does represent another brilliant opportunity for yet another cup run. Exhaustingly exciting!
The Harriers’ league form is indifferent, a drubbing by league leaders Luton and defeat to second bottom Dartford sandwich a home win over Hereford as they sit just beneath the playoff spots. Doing canny then, but, with all due respect, they are in the Conference Premier. I really don’t mean to sound arrogant, rather realistic, but a Premier League club should be able to field whatever team they like and still cast aside this level of opponent – and we will certainly see many changes.
Gus Poyet has already confirmed that, bar injuries, Santiago Vergini and Oscar Ustari will start. Emanuele Giaccherini, still wondering why he came here, is struggling for first team football after Adam Johnson’s resurgence and will no doubt start. Jozy Altidore will lead the line and I am desperately hoping El-Hadji Ba gets another run out in midfield. Duncan Watmore should get a chance too.
The away fans are reported to be bountiful – more than 3,000 tickets have been sold which is a remarkable effort. I hope they have a brilliant day and even wish them a goal to cheer too…just less than the number of goals we score, of course. It is unlikely there will be a robust home following which is completely understandable. Most season ticket holders will be nursing their wallets for Wembley – a lot of which are already dishing out palliative care to their bank accounts after Old Trafford – and we have a huge home relegation clash with Stoke City (and a score to settle to boot).
- Kidderminster reached the FA Cup 5th round in 1994 as a non-league club.
- Lee Fowler plays for them, which probably means nothing to you but I use to sign him all the time on the old Championship Managers. That is of course until I reverted to a very narrow 4-1-3-2 tactic which had no fit for his AML/R position.
- The number of away tickets sold is 1,000 more than their average home attendance (plastic, glory supporters).
- Kidderminster is a lovely little town.
Key Battle – Sunderland Vs Themselves:
As with any David Vs Goliath battle it is really important that we, as Goliath, don’t allow ourselves to succumb to complacency. Any team can turn over an arrogant, slow and complacent side with an injection of desire and endeavour. Professionalism will see us ease through.
Sorry lovers of giant killing, if this is a banana skin it is one which has been trampled on to such a degree it has become one with the path. I can’t see us losing, but as I alluded to earlier I hope Kiddy get an early goal purely because their huge support deserves it. I don’t think they’ll even get that though and expect a professional 3-0 home win.