GARY ROWELL: Carlisle will be relishing Sunderland trip

Echo columnist Gary Rowell
Echo columnist Gary Rowell
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BEFORE my next column, Sunderland’s FA Cup tie against Carlisle will have been played.

It’s quite a few miles between the two cities but Sunday’s cup-tie has a local feel to it.

And with Carlisle bringing a big away following, that will add to the atmosphere.

The third round of the FA Cup is always a special day in the football calendar, when the smaller clubs get the chance to take on Premier League opposition.

And the Carlisle players will see this game as a chance to make a name for themselves by causing an upset.

Just like every tie in the Capital One Cup saw us come out of the draw first, we again get home advantage in the FA Cup and that will make Sunderland hot favourites to go through.

Ex-Sunderland midfielder Graham Kavanagh has not been long in the job as Carlisle boss but he will know if he can produce a good result on Sunday and get the better of Gus Poyet, then his reputation will grow in the game.

On the playing side, another link to Sunderland is Carlisle’s experienced midfielder Paul Thirlwell.

And he will enjoy his return to Wearside as he knows the Stadium of Light well, having played there many times during the Peter Reid era.

One game in particular that he played in, has gone down in Sunderland folklore, when Chelsea were destroyed in a game which saw Sunderland 4-0 up at half time – happy days!

With Sunderland already in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup, it seems the sudden-death nature of cup football is suiting Sunderland.

And with all due respect to Carlisle, it will be a major surprise if Sunderland aren’t in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday night.

THE ROWELL REPORT is in tomorrow’s Echo