Sunderland’s Lee Cattermole looks forward to clash with former club

Lee Cattermole.
Lee Cattermole.
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THE MAIN stand at London Road shook with noise at the roar emerging from the away dressing room during the FA Cup fourth round draw.

Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole couldn’t contain his joy at being pitted against hometown club Middlesbrough as a reward for securing safe passage at Peterborough.

But Cattermole’s dream draw was to turn into a nightmare.

Just 24 hours before last season’s Wear-Tees derby, Cattermole pulled up lame on the training field with a hamstring strain that was to rule him out of the clash and the subsequent replay at the Riverside.

So when Cattermole found himself consumed by remorse last month after his MK Dons dismissal, a second opportunity to face Boro – in tonight’s Capital One Cup fourth round tie – provided some welcome solace.

Cattermole told the Echo: “I was absolutely delighted when we drew them after the Peterborough game. I was cheering more than the fans I think.

“But then I pulled my hamstring. I was gutted to miss it because at the time, the team was flying and my own performances were really good.

“We were training and I was having a good session and it was literally in the last minute of the session that I pulled my hamstring.

“I knew straight away, but we gave it overnight and I knew it wasn’t right.

“It would have been a great occasion. My best mate in football, Matthew Bates, was going to captain Middlesbrough and I was going to captain Sunderland, so I was devastated to miss it.

“But when this draw got made two days after I got sent off at Mk Dons it cheered me up a lot and gave me something to aim for and to come back to.”

Cattermole and Sunderland team-mate Adam Johnson were part of the Boro side who won the FA Youth Cup in 2004 before graduating to the first-team at the Riverisde.

They were among a conveyor belt of youngsters, including the likes of James Morrison, Danny Graham and Stewart Downing, who would go on to become Premier League regulars after being shaped by Boro youth-team coach Dave Parnaby.

“Me and Johnno were talking yesterday about how much respect we’ve got for the club,” said Cattermole.

“It’s where our whole education came from in terms of football and that’s a massive part of it – making sure you do things right during the week to make sure you perform on a Saturday.

“We learned an awful lot at Middlesbrough. Credit to them, they’re a great club and gave us our chance.

“I’m from the area and I’ll always hold Boro close to my heart.”

Cattermole expects Boro to pose a stern test tonight, with Tony Mowbray’s men triumphing in their last four Championship outings.

And although Cattermole is determined to secure Sunderland a quarter final spot, he hopes the Black Cats are facing Boro again in the top flight next season.

The 24-year-old added: “It’s a tough game for both teams and in cup games, it doesn’t really matter what league you’re in. We’ve got to make sure we’re professional on the night.

“They’ve made strides again this season, bringing in some good players with the likes of (Jonathan) Woodgate, (Grant) Leadbitter and (Stuart) Parnaby.

“I’m sure Tony wants them back in the Premier League and they’re getting closer. Hopefully Tony will get them there, which would be great.”