James Fowler has this message for Sunderland players ahead of Sheffield United clash
James Fowler has urged the Sunderland squad to relish the occasion as they take on Premier League side Sheffield United.
The Black Cats travel to Bramall Lane having knocked out Burnley in the previous round. They fielded a heavily-changed side that night, and will do so again tonight.
A number of younger players, included talented midfielder Elliot Embleton, are likely to be heavily involved.
They will face a side already impressing in the top tier after winning two promotions in three seasons, thriving in a system that has drawn admiring glances from the likes of Marcelo Bielsa.
“It’s a new stadium, a new challenge in pitting your wits against a formation that’s proved very successful for Sheffield United,” Fowler said.
“There’s lots of things within that you look forward to.
“Hopefully we can put on a performance that fans are going to be proud of and hopefully we can get one or two more players pushing for a start on Saturday.”
The likes of George Dobson and Luke O’Nien thrived in that win over Burnley, and whoever plays tonight, Fowler says it is a big opportunity to build confidence after two frustrating draws in the league.
“You go in and put a performance like that and it just reminds them that they are good players,” he said.
“When you play a team a couple of leagues above, there’s probably less tension and you can sometimes show how good you can be without that fear of failure because it’s important we don’t let that happen within the group, that they can go and express themselves and hopefully win games.”
The game wil also give Laurens De Bock and Joel Lynch a chance to stake their claim.
“We’ve looked over the summer and probably tried to recruit and older, experienced player,” Fowler said.
“Joel Lynch fits that bill, he’s played a lot of career in the Championship, he’s a left-sided player too, who talks, organises. Laurens has obviously played at a decent level in European football as well.
“They probably offer more experience in what we had, and it will be up to the players with the jersey on Wednesday night to show what they’ve got.”