Max Power is keen to repay Sunderland’s ‘surreal’ supporters at Accrington Stanley - while urging his side to go and grasp promotion.
The Black Cats’ promotion destiny remains in their own hands ahead of the trip to Lancashire, with the rearranged trip providing a perfect opportunity to bounce back from the weekend’s Checkatrade Trophy disappointment.
And Power, a second-half substitute against Portsmouth on Sunday, could be in line for a start at the Wham Stadium as Jack Ross prepares to reshuffle his pack.
Should he be involved in the North West, then the midfielder is keen to do everything possible to repay the club’s stunning support - which he admits took him aback over the course of the Wembley weekend.
One moment stood out for the 25-year-old, as Sunderland fans ensured their team received a heroes welcome upon their arrival in London.
It was a gesture that surprised even the club’s longest-serving players, and one which Power won’t forget in a hurry.
“It’s a special football club,” he said.
“When we stepped off the train at King’s Cross on Saturday the reception we got was very surreal for all the lads, from myself through to lads like Grant Leadbitter and Lee Cattermole who have seen it all before. I think even they were taken aback by it.
“There seems to be a real connection at the moment between the supporters and the players which probably hadn’t been there in recent years.
“There’s a group of lads who understand what it means to play for this club and that’s where the disappointment of Sunday comes from. We wanted to celebrate with that following, but all I can do is commend them for how well they’ve backed us and I’m sure they’ll continue to back us and we’ll see another sell-out away crowd at Accrington.”
While Sunderland were unable to deliver Wembley success for those supporters, Power and co have an immediate chance to make amends at Accrington this evening (7:45pm kick-off).
And despite the quick turnaround ahead of this fixture, Power has urged the Black Cats to ‘go and get’ promotion - which could be a step closer if three points are secured in the North West.
“At this stage of the season recovery’s really important and we’ve got a gruelling schedule coming up so we’ll do everything professionally,” he added.
“We stayed down on Sunday night before coming back on Monday, and the operation for Accrington starts then.
“The objective hasn’t changed. Wednesday was important anyway.
“Has it become more important because we haven’t won at Wembley? No, probably not, it was always an important game.
“We know what we’ve got to do. Promotion’s in our hands and it’s up to us to go and get it.”