SUNDERLAND step out of the promotion battle to tackle an even tougher task tomorrow night, when they will press their challenge for progress in the Football League Cup by visiting the holders, Stoke City, at the Victoria Ground.
It is five years since Sunderland won a League Cup-tie and a change of fortune for them could not come at a better time.
Their last success was by 3-2 over Everton at Goodison Park and that was a comparable task to the one they will be facing tomorrow night.
Sunderland manager, Mr Alan Brown and his Stoke counterpart, Mr Tony Waddington, have both taken the opportunity to weigh up opposing strengths and weaknesses since the draw was made and both were suitably impressed. Mr Brown spoke highly of the form which City showed in a midweek game against Sheffield United a fortnight ago and Mr Waddington, who saw Sunderland make their point-winning challenge against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road said, “Sunderland could give us a lot of trouble.”
Today Mr Brown was able to announce an unchanged team, with assurances that there were no injury hangovers from Saturday’s win over Swindon Town, but he will not be making his decision on substitutes until shortly before the game. Jimmy Hamilton, who was not called upon as substitute on Saturday, will make the trip and he will be joined by Billy Hughes, who yesterday withdrew his request for a transfer.
City are not so fortunate. Dennis Smith and Peter Dobing were both injured in Saturday’s defeat at Coventry and both are regarded as doubtful start. Smith has a calf injury and Dobing a bruised toe.
If Smith has to stand down, Mr Waddington has a ready replacement in Alan Bloor, who has been kept out of action so far this season by a cracked cheekbone, but centre forward John Ritchie is on call again after missing Saturday’s game to allow a reshuffle in attack if Dobing should have to stand down.
The probable line-up is:
Stoke City: Banks, Marsh and Pejic, Lees, Smith and Skeels, Robertson, Greenhoff, Hurst, Conroy and Dobing. Substitute, Jump
Sunderland: Montgomery, Malone and Coleman, Horswill, Pitt and Porterfield, McGiven, Kerr, Watson, Lathan and Tueart. Substitute, Hamilton or Hughes.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on September 5 1972.