WITH the big game only 48 hours away, Sunderland welcomed star goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery back into training after a two-day absence with a throat injury, but Reading their F.A. Cup (Fourth Round) opponents at Roker Park on Saturday, found their luck running the other way, with question marks hanging over two key players in their record-breaking defence.
Tommy Youlden, a £10,000 buy from Portsmouth, has been troubled by a knee condition for some time. A manipulative operation earlier in the week was expected to clear it up, but instead he now becomes a doubtful starter. Centre half John Hulme, returning after a two-day ban, was so out of touch in Saturday’s 4–2 defeat against Peterborough that he was given a run out with Reading Reserves last night.
Montgomery’s return takes away the last of Sunderland’s fitness worries and leaves Manager Bob Stokoe with the task of sorting out the team formation for a game which Sunderland are desperately keen to win at first attempt.
“I’ll be naming 12 or 13 players after we have finished training tomorrow,” he told me “but the actual line-up will not be decided until shortly before the game.”
“We want to win this one and enthusiasm and atmosphere within the team tells me that it is well within out capabilities. Things have been going well for us in the League and we have picked up a lot of points, but the Cup is different.
“This tie is make-or-break for us and there is pressure on the players to play winning football on Saturday. If we can go into the hat for Monday’s Fifth Round draw it will keep interest alive and bring a lot of excitement.”
Two of Reading’s players could be renewing a link with Sunderland which started with the final of the F.A. Youth Cup in 1966. Tommy Youlden and Gordon Cumming were then members of the Arsenal youth team which was beaten 2–1 at Roker Park, but carried off the trophy by winning 4–1 at Highbury. Bobby Kerr, Billy Hughes, Brian Chambers and Derek Foster were all on duty for Sunderland in those games.
Chelsea’s 5–0 win over Stoke City last night means that they will be visiting Roker Park in the quarter-final of this season’s F.A. Youth Cup on a date yet to be arranged. And Wild Rostron, who played for Sunderland Boys last season scored the goal which earned Arsenal’s youth team 2–2 draw against Manchester United in a fourth round tie at Old Trafford last night.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on February 1 1973.