Sunderland legend verdict on Burnley test and how Black Cats owe Peterborough one ahead of busy week
Sunderland face Premier League Burnley tomorrow in a League Cup tie that will be as difficult a test as they could get.
Outside the top six, Burnley are as tough an opponent as you could wish for, a team that manager Sean Dyche has organised, disciplined and hard-working.
The Clarets, after a few seasons in the top flight now, are becoming an established Premier League outfit and every Sunderland fan I’m sure wishes we could be in their position.
Both managers will make changes tomorrow, like it or not, that is the way it is these days in the early rounds of the cups because for Sunderland promotion is seen as the main priority, while for Burnley, Premier League stability and the finances that brings trumps everything.
However, the League Cup has been good to Sunderland this season, our first win came in this tournament at Accrington Stanley and who knows may have just been the catalyst for Sunderland’s first league win days later against Portsmouth.
Never underestimate what a win does for the dressing room in any competition, and after two disappointing draws, that Accrington win changed the dynamic of the season and Sunderland haven’t looked back since.
So for me, the cups are always important and I am sure the travelling away support descending on Turf Moor tomorrow would agree.
After Burnley, it is back to League One action with another tough away game, just four days later at Peterborough - a team who after a slow start have really found their form.
Even at this early stage of the campaign it has taken on the rhythm of Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday fixtures so every member of the squad must be ready if the call comes and a squad with strength-in-depth is a huge advantage at this level.
There wasn’t much between Peterborough and Sunderland in their meetings last season, nobody will be surprised they both ended in draws but the one at London Road towards the end of the campaign was particularly damaging.
Leading by a slender one goal lead all Sunderland had to do was see out the last couple of minutes but disaster struck when Peterborough scored a late equaliser.
I don’t think Sunderland truly recovered from that blow, automatic promotion would prove to be out of reach and we all know what happened in the play-offs.
So we owe Peterborough one, another draw on Saturday won’t be the end of the world but three points must be the target to keep that all important momentum going.