Kerr in battle for fitness

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SUNDERLAND manager, Mr Bob Stokoe, has high hopes that he will be able to field an unchanged side for tomorrow night’s FA Cup Replay against Manchester City at Roker Park, but he will not be happy until physiotherapist John Watters is able to report success in his beat-the-clock attempt to present Bobby Kerr fit and fighting trim.

Kerr pulled down from behind from a savage Tony Book foul which earned a booking, spent most of yesterday in the treatment room receiving attention to a thigh injury.

There had been considerable improvement overnight and further progress today raises the hopes that he will be able to enjoy the big thrill of leading out Sunderland before the first capacity Roker crowd in nearly ten years.

Ron Guthrie, Mike Horswill and Richie Pitt received less serious injury, but every Sunderland player had knocks and bruises as painful reminders of a too-physical encounter.

City’s big problems is presented by the doubt over Mick Doyle. A doubtful starter before the game, he had to go off with injured ankle ligaments in the second half and at this stage he has no more than a 50-50 chance of holding his place.

Mike Summerbee, one of their stars at Maine Road, will miss tomorrow night’s game. He starts a two-game suspension today and will take no further part in the tie, unless of course, there is a second replay, in which case his suspension would be covered by tomorrow’s game and city’s visit to Wolves on Saturday.

There is a further complication for Tony Book, who had already topped the 12 points mark before his booking on Saturday.

He is due to appear before a disciplinary committee in London tomorrow morning. The FA advise that findings are expected to be released by lunch-time, which will leave Book time for a dash up to the North-East, for his appearance in tomorrow night’s game will not be at risk, regardless of the outcome of his hearing.

Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on February 26 1973.