THE BATTLE which rocked Maine Road on Saturday will be renewed at Roker Park tonight, when Sunderland, spurred on by the “Roker Roar,” will be making another all-out attempt to play winning football against Manchester City in the F.A. Cup (Fifth Round) Replay. And the great news for Sunderland is that Bobby Kerr, whom Manager Bob Stokoe calls “My Little General,” has been declared fit and will enjoy the thrill of a lifetime in leading out his side before a capacity crowd.
Mr Stokoe was happy to announce that the replay task will be in the hands of the 11 players, with Brian Chambers as substitute, who put on a brave and brilliant display in gaining a 2–2 draw on Saturday. “I’m making no predictions,” said Mr Stokoe, “but I know that it is going to be a night to remember for everyone.”
From Jimmy Montgomery, wearing the No. 1 and making his 450th League and Cup appearance for Sunderland, to Dennis Tueart at No. 11 there is a spirit of dedication which ensures no effort will be spared on this night of nights to write another glorious chapter into the history of a rejuvenated Sunderland reaching out again for bigger things.
The show of enthusiasm by supporters has had a tremendous impact upon Sunderland players and officials and none is more moved than Mr Stokoe, who finds himself at the centre of the reawakening of a slumbering giant–the massive support which the North-East is prepared to give to its favourites when the attraction is right.
Most of City’s problems look like resolving themselves. Francis Lee, left behind with Mike Doyle to continue treatment and training, has already declared himself fit and there is a good chance that Doyle, too, will be able to make the starting line-up.
They will be without the talented services of Mike Summerbee, who started a two-match suspension yesterday, but there is enough skill in this City side to make them a match for the best without resorting to the shady tactics which they employed on Saturday.
Summerbee’s replacement will be Ian Mellor and if Doyle should have to stand down his place will be taken by Alan Oakes.
Roker Park will be the centre of attraction for club officials from far and wide and one of the most involved onlookers will be Mr Harry Haslam, manager of Luton Town, who are due to visit the winners of tonight’s tie in the Sixth Round.
Mr Haslam has said that City would suit them better because there would be prospects of a bigger crowd. He may have different views tonight ... and he will certainly not relish the prospect of meeting, as City have to do, the full blast of the “Roker Roar.”
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on February 27 1973.