ALL the fitness problems which had Sunderland fulfilling their Easter programme with weakened sides have now been resolved and they will go into their last home game before Wembley against Blackpool tomorrow afternoon with their full F.A. Cup Final side on duty and with David Young as substitute.
Manager Bob Stokoe, who earlier in the week expressed his keenness to have a full strength team for a pre-Final outing in front of the Roker crowd so that they could get themselves geared up for their big game tomorrow week, was clearly delighted that his Cup heroes would be together again for tomorrow’s game.
The biggest doubts appeared to concern Billy Hughes, who has been undergoing treatment for an Achilles tendon injury, and Ian Porterfield, who was called out of Monday’s game against Cardiff because of a bruised big toe.
Both have now been passed fit and along with Dave Watson, Richie Pitt and Vic Halom will be resuming their places in the line-up.
The team will be: Montgomery, Malone and Guthrie, Horswill, Watson and Pitt, Kerr, Hughes, Halom, Porterfield and Tueart. Substitute: Young.
The dramatic rise in Sunderland’s fortunes over the last five months is underlined by the fact that when Mr Stokoe was appointed manager to the club on his release by Blackpool, the Lancashire club were second place in the Second Division table and Sunderland were separated from a relegation position only by goal ratio.
Since then, Sunderland have claimed a place in the F.A. Cup Final and with three games in hand could well be finishing the season ahead of Blackpool in the table.
Blackpool keep the team which finished the home match against Nottingham Forest on Monday.
This means that Dave Lennard, who came on after Billy Rafferty fractured a cheekbone in the 2–0 win over Forest to keep his place as does 19-year-old Kevin Tully, who stepped up into the Blackpool team after Alan Ainscow was injured in a car crash last weekend.
Both Ainscow and Rafferty are still unfit and the Blackpool line-up which includes two former Newcastle United forwards, Chester-le-Street born Alan Suddick and Keith Dyson, who hails from Consett, is: Wood, Hatton, Bentley, Alcock, James, Suddaby, Burns, Suddick, Lennard, Dyson, Tully. Sub: Hardcastle.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on April 27 1973.