CUP football has brought little joy to Sunderland over the last few years, but they aim to correct the trend at Meadow Lane on Saturday, when they will be chasing a win-at-first-attempt target against Third Division club Notts County. “We want to win this one and bring a little excitement for our supporters,” says Manager Bob Stokoe. “We need Cup cash, of course, but most of all we need the waves of enthusiasm which a good Cup run can set up. It won’t be easy, but I am confident that we can do it.”
Mr Stokoe knows what it will take to play match-winning football against hard-hitting County. He was at Burnden Park a fortnight ago to see them fight back from 0–2 to a 2–2 draw with Bolton Wanderers and with the Cup the only topic in training this week, he has been able to concentrate on the plan of campaign. “They have four giants who can be dangerous in the air, but we can have them in trouble on the ground,” he said.
“I’ll not be naming my team until after we’ve finished training tomorrow. Because David Young is not eligible for this round of the Cup, I have to name a replacement. I am not sure whether it will be just the one position or whether a couple of positions will be affected. I still want a little more time to think about it.
Experience appears to weigh in Richie Pitt’s favour for a place in the back four, but a new favourite for the spot emerged from last night’s North Midlands League game, with John Tones giving a great account of himself in the 1–0 win over Notts County Reserves.
Sunderland supporters, keen to cheer a swing in the club’s fortunes, are entering into the spirit of things and there will be the biggest turn-out for an away Cup-tie since the Fifth Round marathon against Leeds United six years ago.
Willie Carlin, the former Carlisle United, Sheffield United, Derby County, and Leicester City midfield player, was all set for a return after recovering from flu, but he pulled a muscle in training on Tuesday and is now a very doubtful starter.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on January 11 1973.