WITH three home League matches to play in the next six days, Manager Bob Stokoe has no intention of changing the Sunderland side before they keep their big appointment with Arsenal in the F.A. Cup Semi-Final at Hillsborough on Saturday week.
He was cheered by the news of the 2–1 win at Fulham on Saturday, which he heard on is car radio while motoring back with Director Ted Evans from a player-vetting mission in Scotland, and said: “It has been a great week for us. Beating Luton in the Cup and then winning at Preston and Fulham keeps everything ticking over nicely.
“We want to build up the right kind of confidence and see that over-confidence stays away. I’ll keep the Cup side together right through to the Semi-Final if possible, though if there are any bad knocks we will not take risks.
“The players all want to play and that suits me fine. They are gaining confidence in each other all the time and I’m not planning to change it.”
Dennis Tueart, who took several hard knocks during Saturday’s game at Fulham, with the worst one coming only four minutes from the end, reported for treatment yesterday, but Mr Stokoe is hopeful that he will be able to hold his place in an unchanged side against Carlisle United at Roker Park tomorrow night (8-0).
He is the only doubtful starter at the moment and if today’s training session confirms Mr Stokoe’s hopes, the line-up will be:
Montgomery, Malone and Bolton, Horswill, Watson and Pitt, Kerr, Hughes W., Halom, Porterfield and Tueart. Substitute, Young or Chambers.
Gates will open at 5.30 and because admission will be slowed by the issue of ballot cards for the Semi-Final ticket draw, a late kick-off has been arranged to ensure that everyone is inside before the game starts.
Mr Stokoe, who welcomed the rain over the week-end because it produces conditions more to Sunderland’s liking, says that his players will be doing very little severe training in between matches. “We’ve got a lot of football to play before the end of the season,” he says. “They will do their hard work in matches and we’ll keep them ticking over between games.
This will be the pattern next week. They will play their last game before the Semi-final a week tonight, when they are home to promotion favourites Queen’s Park Rangers. The following day they travel to their Cup headquarters at Buxton to get away from Cup pressures and build up for the big occasion in a relaxed atmosphere.
ROUND OF GOLF
“We’ll probably have a round of golf on Wednesday and then light training sessions for the rest of the week to keep them sharp before we go on to Hillsborough,” said Mr Stokoe.
The Roker manager did not make any disclosures about the object of his visit to Scotland on Saturday. “We have representatives covering these areas for us and I thought this was a good chance to get a first-hand view. There is nothing imminent in the transfer line. I was not greatly impressed by what I saw, but it was not a wasted trip .”
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on March 26 1973.