Rowell Report: Old heads can inspire Sunderland glory!

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
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EVER since that great night in the Capital One Cup semi-final at Old Trafford, the anticipation has been building and building on Wearside.

Now, we are only a few days from our first Wembley appearance of the 21st century.

With no midweek game, Gus Poyet has a full week on the training pitch to come up with the tactics and system to beat Manchester City and bring silverware back to Wearside for the first time since 1973.

City are the hot favourites, just like they were in last season’s FA Cup final.

But Wigan upset the odds that day and proved in one-off games anything can happen.

I’ve never been to the new Wembley since its redevelopment and the atmosphere there on Sunday is sure to be electric.

Both clubs have great fans and with half of Wembley red and white and the other half sky blue and white, Wembley will be a great visual spectacle that I can’t wait to experience.

These are the sort of things that the fans have to look forward to but for the players it is completely different.

They have got one job to focus on, and that is winning.

The saying that: ‘first is first and second is nowhere’, could have been invented for a cup final, as while it’s an achievement to get to Wembley, winning there creates history.

With such a high-profile and glamorous game, the players are bound to have nerves but it is important that they don’t let the occasion get to them in a negative way.

This is why I think that John O’Shea and the returning Wes Brown are crucial to Sunderland’s chances.

They have the experience of huge games and cup finals under their belts and hopefully their partnership can give the team the defensive stability that can be built upon.

Gus Poyet made a veiled threat to his players after the Arsenal defeat that maybe his team selection for the Capital One Cup final could change.

That will definitely focus the minds of the players.

Nobody will want to miss out on playing at Wembley and at the very least they will want a place on the bench, as Gus Poyet will be assessing his players all week.

Whatever starting 11 he picks, Sunderland’s head coach will have the whole of Wearside behind him and his players, as he bids to emulate the great Bob Stokoe in bringing back a cup from Wembley.