Martin O’Neill: Cup fever’s so exciting!

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill.
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill.
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MARTIN O’Neill says he’s looking forward to the cup-tie atmosphere Goodison Park will generate tomorrow ... and he’s thrilled that Sunderland will have so much backing from their fans.

The red and white army were offered almost 6,000 tickets for the FA Cup quarter-final clash and snapped up the lot.

Everton fans are similarly excited about the game with the ‘Sold Out’ signs going up around the ground early this week.

And with a full-house looking forward to a game which offers Wembley as a reward, O’Neill (pictured, left) is expecting the occasion to be memorable.

“There’s always something special about big cup-ties and this one is exactly that,” he told the Echo.

“Two great clubs in the later stages of what I still regard as a great, great competition. It’s the sort of thing that you can’t help get excited about.

“We know how tough it is going to be because the one thing you want at this stage is home advantage and Everton have got it. But we’ve been to some tough grounds and done ourselves proud.”

The manager doesn’t have to go too far back in his memory banks to appreciate just how valuable Sunderland’s support can be on away grounds.

He said: “In the derby game our fans were absolutely fantastic.

“They didn’t have a big allocation for Newcastle’s ground but the noise they made was superb and for long periods of that game you could hear them clearly, even though they were so high up and so far away.

“We’ve got 6,000 fans going tomorrow and that’s going to be a big help to us on an away ground. We’ll be able to see the fans and I’m sure we’ll be able to hear them too.

“And that sort of following can inspire teams.

“We want to do them proud tomorrow and we’re aware that if we get through this round then another great day awaits for them.”