MANCHESTER United with home advantage might be the favourites to get to Wembley in the Capital One Cup, but Sunderland go there with a one goal lead, backed by 9,000 passionate fans, and that evens things up for me.
The atmosphere will be amazing and it doesn’t get much more glamorous than a cup semi-final at Old Trafford against the current Premier League title holders.
By their own high standards, United are having a disappointing season and their home ground isn’t the fortress it used to be, having lost five games at home already.
Even so, the United fans will turn up tomorrow night expecting their team to get to Wembley.
They are used to nights like this.
It’s what they do.
And David Moyes’ team will be expected to deliver, with no excuses.
Sunderland on the other hand are not used to nights like this and the players have the opportunity to write their own history.
The chance of glory is within touching distance and a trip to Wembley would be a massive boost for both the club and the fans in a season that has been so disappointing in the Premier League.
I hope Sunderland don’t go there and just sit back on their one goal lead, as that would be asking for trouble and a dangerous tactic.
We’ll have to defend well, yes, and for long periods, but if we can nick a goal, all the pressure and tension would be on United players and David Moyes, who is coming under increasing scrutiny.
Sunderland’s away form has been good recently, better than our form at the Stadium of Light, so they have absolutely no reason to go to Old Trafford with any fear.
The big talking point from the United camp has been the fitness of Wayne Rooney – will he available or not – and the answer to that could have a huge bearing on the night.
That’s out of Sunderland’s hands though, all they need to do is go there and enjoy the occasion, give absolutely everything they’ve got, and no-one can ask for any more.