MARTIN O’Neill says last season’s FA Cup run has given Sunderland a taste for this year’s cup competitions, writes CHRIS YOUNG.
Sunderland begin their Capital One Cup campaign against League Two club Morecambe tonight, looking to ensure safe progress to the third round – a feat they didn’t manage last year after succumbing at Championship newcomers Brighton.
O’Neill has not managed to see the Shrimps in the flesh and will rely on DVDs and scouting reports for information on Jim Bentley’s side ahead of the first ever competitive meeting between the two clubs.
But there will be no half-measures from O’Neill tonight after seeing the excitement generated by last season’s run to the FA Cup quarter-finals before the Black Cats slumped to a replay defeat to Everton.
O’Neill said: “The cup tie is very important for us. We want to do really well in the cup competitions.
“We had a taste for the cup last year and the atmosphere that night against Everton in the replay was extraordinary and showed just what it means to the people here.
“We would love to do well, we have a home tie and really want to make the most of it.
“We just want to give it a real go and show people what we want to do.
“I have not had the chance to see Morecambe myself but have reports and will look at video coverage of them.”
Before Saturday’s Premier League clash with Reading was rained off, O’Neill was planning to make changes for tonight’s game.
But, with a fortnight’s international break on the horizon after this weekend’s trip to Swansea and the likes of Stephane Sessegnon and new signings Steven Fletcher and Louis Saha all short of match fitness, O’Neill is likely to field a strong side.
Saha is in contention to start up front, potentially in place of Fraizer Campbell, while David Vaughan, Wes Brown and Phil Bardsley remain on the sidelines.
“At the beginning of the season, I probably would have wanted to make changes,” added O’Neill.
“I might have made a couple of changes, but now I’ve got something to think about it tonight.
“We would still have wanted to get through, but it would have depended what happened on Saturday fitness-wise.”