SUNDERLAND have to play seven games in 16 days before they can shelve their League responsibilities and start a five-day build-up for the task of wrestling the FA Cup away from the holders, Leeds United, at Wembley on May 5. It is a tough schedule, but Manager Bob Stokoe will stand by his avowed intension to keep his Cup fighters together as long as possible.
“There will be no problems so long as everybody is fit” he said. “We’ll have the full side out against Portsmouth on Saturday. We do not have too much to worry about in the League right now, but by the weekend we could be definitely out of trouble.”
“We’ll start thinking a little bit after that, but I do not want to go too far ahead at the moment.”
Yesterday was a rest day for the players who hammered Huddersfield Town 3-0 in a brilliant exhibition on Tuesday night, but they were back in full training at the Washington New Town training complex today.
Mick Horswill, booked and ready to start a two-match suspension over the Easter weekend, also picked up a shin injury, but this is not expected to keep him out of Saturday’s game.
The match-by-match struggle through a congested programme does not mean that there is a shut-down on the long term programme, however, and Mr Stokoe says; “I’ll probably the able to brush up on one or two things with a scouting trip at Easter.
“This is something we’ve got to be thinking about all the time even though I could not be more delighted with what the team is producing right now.”
Yesterday was a big day for bargain buy Vic Halom, who has proved a perfect fit in Sunderland’s attacking set-up. The discomfort of living in temporary accommodation ended when he moved into his own home at Washington New Town, where he will be within easy reach of the club’s training quarters.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on April 12 1973.