SUNDERLAND manager Bob Stokoe will not be naming his team from the party of 15 players until shortly before the start of tonight’s FA Cup fourth round replay against Reading at Elm Park, but he is already certain that Bobby Kerr, Dave Watson and Dick Malone will be available, which must be a happy situation for him in view of the anxiety which followed their injuries in Saturday’s game.
Mr Stokoe said: “I have not decided how we are going to line up for this one and I have not mentioned the subject to the players. They’ll know at the team talk before the game and I reckon that will be soon enough.”
He did not want to commit himself on the role which will go to Dave Watson, hero of the two-stage third round tie against Notts County and injured when trying to force the winning goal against Reading on Saturday.
It seems certain that Watson will be up in attack for at least part of the game. The presence in the party of Richie Pitt en route with Keith Coleman for a month’s loan to Arsenal – invites speculation that he will be at No. 5 in the starting line up with Watson at No. 9.
But it is just as likely that the only change will be as substitute with Pitt replacing Ashurst in readiness to take over at the back when the time is right for Watson to go forward.
The Sunderland players who worked through a brief loosening up session on parkland near their Reading hotel this morning, remain supremely confident that they can play winning football tonight. The conviction that they should have won at first attempt on Saturday is still with them.
Sunderland will be playing in a new all-red strip tonight because Mr Stokoe was not satisfied that there would be sufficient definition under floodlights. “There were too many stripes for my liking on Saturday,” he said.
The last time Sunderland won away from home in the FA Cup was in January 1964 when they beat Luton Town 3-0 at Kenilworth Road, in a third round tie.
Arthur Cox who has now officially joined the Sunderland staff will be taking over as the club No. 1 on training and coaching under Mr Stokoe on Monday. Mr Stokoe said: “He joined us yesterday and the next few days will give him a chance to meet everyone before he takes charge.”
Reading will almost certainly be without midfield man Tony Wagstaff who is still troubled by a swollen ankle which has not responded to treatment. He takes a late fitness test, but Brian Carnaby’s name is added to an unchanged 12.
Reading anticipates a 20,000 crowd and are confident they can reach the fifth round for the first time in 38 years. Manager Charlie Hurley said today: “We took a lot of punishment on Saturday to earn this replay. Now it’s Sunderland’s turn to worry.”
Reading from: Death, Dixon, Youlden, B Wagstaff, Holme, T Wagstaff, Cummings, Chappell, Bell, Hunt, Habbin, Butler, Carnaby.
The winners of the Reading-Sunderland tie should know their fifth round opponents tonight as Manchester City and Liverpool replay their fourth round game at Maine Road.
City could fill their ground twice over for tonight’s clash. Manager Malcolm Allison, who will field an unchanged side, said today: “The interest is fantastic. We have turned away 20,000 people already who want seats. I’ve never seen anything like it here.”
City have a clean bill of health for the tie and field their strongest team which is: Corrigan, Book, Donachie, Doyle, Booth, Jeffries, Summerbee, Bell, Marsh, Lee, Towers. Sub: Mellor.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on February 7 1973.