Gale force winds fail to dampen Roker spirits

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GALE FORCE winds did not stop Sunderland players from working through the lively training programme at Stanley Park, the home of Blackpool Cricket Club, this morning, in preparation for Saturday’s F.A. Cup fifth round tie against Manchester City. And the bright spot of the 30 minute seven-a-side game which brought the session to a close was that David Young, whose fitness for Saturday has been in some doubt following an ankle injury scored both goals in his side’s 2–1 win, the reply coming from Ron Guthrie.

It was a two-touch, headed-goals-only exercise with Dave Watson, Dennis Tueart, Dick Malone, Dave Young, Billy Hughes, Ian Porterfield and Billy Elliott taking on Bobby Kerr, Ron Guthrie, Richie Pitt, Jimmy Montgomery, Vic Halom, Mick Horswill and trainer-coach Arthur Cox.

And the high spirits which prevailed there were continuous on the return to their sea front hotel trainer coach Cox was dropped into the swimming bath with due ceremony.

Manager Bob Stokoe, who controlled the game, set the afternoon aside for a talk-in with the players on Saturday’s task.

“The first thing I want to talk about is that bit of magic the team produced in the second half against Middlesbrough last week. This is what I’ve been waiting for and wanting to see. Now we know it can be done and we must work to keep it going.

“We tried four-three-three against Sheffield Wednesday and it did not go to well, but this is how we are going to get the best cut of everything as we did best out of everyone as we did against Middlesbrough.

CAN GO AT DEFENCE

Vic Halom makes the big difference. He can go at a defence and cause an awful lot of trouble and with Dennis Tueart and Billy Hughes taking on defenders and striking we can pick up a lot of goals.

“All three hit the jackpot against Middlesbrough and they can be a big handful for City at Maine Road.”

Halom plays on Saturday by courtesy of Everton at whose request Luton kept him out of their third round tie to prevent him from becoming Cup-tied because they were interested in him.

While they hesitated, Sunderland stepped in to sign a player who can take a vital role for them on Saturday.

The verdict on Young has still to come and Mr Stokoe has yet to decide whether he will ask for extra players to travel down with directors and officials tomorrow. “I still have an open mind on the subject,” he said.

Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on February 22 1973.