TEAM selection takes second place to preparation as Sunderland players gear themselves up to ensure that last week’s break-through to winning form at Portsmouth becomes the starting point for a winning sequence.
They will need to be on their toes at Roker Park on Saturday afternoon, when the opposition will be provided by improving Preston N.E., who have one of the best away records in the Second Division.
But Sunderland, in their best form, do not have to fear any side. They are working on it to put on a super show against Preston.
When I asked Manager Bob Stokoe about team selection today he said: “We have two full training sessions to go through first and as we are playing at home there need be no hurry to name the team. I can tell you that it will be from the same 12 players we used against Portsmouth last week and the odd man out will be substitute.”
In view of the fact that John Tones has shown up well on his brief appearance as substitute, there may be the chance of his gaining his place in the starting line-up for the first time. But Mr Stokoe assures me that if this should be the case there would still be no question of asking Dave Watson to move up into attack again.
“What I am looking for at the moment is extra challenge in midfield, particularly after we have lost the ball,” he said.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on December 14 1972.