SUNDERLAND manager Mr Bob Stokoe still keeps an open mind on what his line-up will be against Manchester City in the FA Cup fifth round at Maine Road, tomorrow. Later today Brian Chambers will join the party which travelled to Blackpool earlier this week for a change of air and routine, but the big question is whether David Young or Richie Pitt will wear the No. 6.
Mr Stokoe will chose from a 13-strong squad and a decision will not be made until shortly before the game, but Chambers’s arrival could indicate that Young’s chances of playing are rather less than the 50-50 which has been held out for him.
Bloomfield Road, home of Blackpool AFC, became the scene of today’s brief training session in which Young, paired with Jimmy Montgomery, joined his team-mates in a round of competitive sprints.
A gale force wind which would have created farcical playing conditions added to the strain of working up pace, but Young came though it well enough, though still feeling twinges of pain in his ankle.
So far as Mr Stokoe is concerned there is a straightforward decision to be made and he will not be hurried. When the time comes he will no doubt cut out risks and go for certainties.
On the game itself, Mr Stokoe says: “The time for talking is over now. We’ve done everything we can to ensure that we give ourselves the best possible chance of getting a good result. It is a tremendous task I now, but you can never tell what is going to happen on the day.
In great spirits
“The players could not be in better spirits and there is nothing I need to say to motivate them for the job we want to do.”
At 3.00pm tomorrow afternoon the Maine Road crowd will be only 90 minutes away from a decision on whether Sunderland, described by City manager Mr Malcolm Allinson, as the best Second Division side he has seen for three years, can achieve what Liverpool failed to do with home advantage in the previous round.
And with nearly 10,000 of them bringing the “Roker Roar” on tour, Sunderland players will know well enough that the atmosphere is not entirely hostile.
As Mr Stokoe says: “It has been a good week for us and it could just be a great one.”
Manchester City: Corrigan, Book, Donachie, Doyle, Booth, Jefferies, Summerbee, Bell, Marsh, Lee, Towers. Sub: Mellor.
Sunderland (from): Montgomery, Malone, Guthrie, Horswill, Watson, Pitt, Young, Kerr, Hughes, Halom, Porterfield, Tueart, Chambers.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on February 23 1973.