WITH nearly a quarter of the Football League programme completed, Sunderland will be playing only their fourth home game of the season when they take on Nottingham Forest at Roker Park tomorrow afternoon. And it is to their credit that they are still within comfortable reach of the promotion pace-makers.
For the second weekend in succession they will be meeting a side with recent experience of First Division football, for Forest and Huddersfield were relegated together at the end of last season. Their fighting point at Leeds Road should encourage them to believe that they can do better still against Forest before the Roker Park crowd.
Although Wednesday night’s game against Aston Villa was nothing like the physical grilling they received against Huddersfield, there were still one or two fitness queries to be cleared up when the Sunderland players worked through their preparation at Washington New Town today.
Manager Alan Brown is optimistic about being able to field the team which won glowing tributes from a host of football experts at Villa Park. It was their approach to the talk which earned Wednesday night’s rating as the most exciting game seen at Villa Park for years and even staunch Villa supporters conceded that Sunderland were worth at least one point.
In view of the current emphasis upon negative football away from home, there was an indication of Sunderland’s brightly and positive attitude when, with midfield player Mick McGiven ruled out through injury, Mr Brown filled the vacancy by bringing in a striker in Billy Hughes. And this was further emphasised 16 minutes from the end, when midfield man Ian Porterfield was replaced by yet another striker, Jimmy Hamilton.
Forest’s attitude will have a big bearing on the pattern of tomorrow’s game. But the certainty is that Sunderland will be going at them from the start and if they can press home their attacks well enough to claim a goal or two then Forest will have to give up any ideas of playing out a negative game in search of a point.
Nottingham Forest’s transfer-listed defender Sammy Chapman gets his first full game of the season in the forward line tomorrow.
Chapman, a back-four player with more than 100 First Division appearances failed to make the grade as a forward when he first arrived in Nottingham ten years ago.
But Manager Matt Gillies drops winger Jimmy McIntosh following their 2-0 defeat at Millwall on Monday and Chapman is drafted in up front.
The line-up will be: Montgomery, Malone and Coleman, Horswill, Ashurst and Porterfield, Hughes, Kerr, Watson, Lathan and Tueart, Substitute, Hamilton.
Nottingham Forest: Barron, Hindley and Gemmell, Serella, Cottam and Frazer, Lyall, Chapman, McKenzie, Richardson and O’Neill. Substitute, Robertson.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on September 29 1972.