Stokoe gives players a break

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SUNDERLAND Manager Mr Bob Stokoe will not be able to count the cost of Saturday’s win over Oxford United, but he knows already that three of his players are undergoing treatment for injuries. “We’ll have a better idea of how we stand tomorrow morning,” he said, “but we know already that Ray Ellison has a slight groin strain and both Ian Porterfield and Dick Malone have needed treatment.”

With a view to relaxing the tension a little after an exhausting week which left several players looking a little jaded on Saturday afternoon, Mr Stokoe has decided to give the team an extra day’s break from training.

The begin their preparation for Saturday’s visit to Luton Town on Wednesday morning and if the injury toll is still heavy there might be several changes for what amounts to a rehearsal for Luton’s visit to Roker Park in the F.A. Cup (Sixth Round) a week later.

Mr Stokoe was in touch with Arsenal manager Mr Bertie Mee this morning to explain the position of Richie Pitt and Keith Coleman, who went on loan to Highbury a month ago and then came back to Roker Park after playing in one reserve game.

“Mr Mee appreciates our position,” said Mr Stokoe, “and understands that with 15 League games and at least one Cup-tie to fit into the next seven or eight weeks, we cannot afford to be without either player.”

“I don’t want to let anyone go on loan, and then have to haul them back, so we are leaving it for the time being.”

CHANCE FOR COLEMAN

“Richie has played himself back into the team and Keith will have the same opportunity. If he is fit enough he will be given a game with the Reserves against Grimbsy on Wednesday night and that will give him the chance to put himself in line for selection.”

Wednesday’s game will also provide match practice for David Young and if the fitness report is favourable, John Hughes may be able to have a run-out too.

“I do not think we will be making any more additions to the staff before the dead-line on Thursday,” said Mr Stokoe. “We’ll manage as we are and there’s no doubt that John Lathan, Brian Chambers and the younger lads will all have parts to play in the last few weeks of the season.”

Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on March 5 1973.