Sunderland legend reveals why the Black Cats MUST win at Gillingham in the FA Cup
I hope the Sunderland players made the most of their break at the weekend, because they have got a demanding week coming up both physically and mentally starting with tonight’s FA Cup replay at Gillingham followed by two crucial League One games against Coventry and Burton, both at the Stadium of Light where failure is not an option.
Tonight’s cup replay is a game Sunderland shouldn’t even be playing, they had the chance to get the job done at the first time of asking but blew it and now valuable time and effort, which could have gone into preparing for the visit of Coventry, will be taken up with an arduous 90 minutes of cup football and a tiring 600-mile round-trip to Kent and back and they have only got themselves to blame for that.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Coventry game is the biggest of this campaign so far.
I see Sunderland’s season at a tipping point right now and the result on Saturday could have huge consequences.
A good win, or any win really, against the Sky Blues and it could kick-start the season, get the optimism back and with another home game quickly following Sunderland could make big strides back up the table.
However, a draw - or heaven forbid - a defeat will just increase the doom and gloom on Wearside and the top two will look like a pipe dream.
So that is why I want a win for Sunderland in the cup tonight, nothing breeds confidence like winning and I don’t want the players going into the Coventry game on the back of yet another demoralising defeat.
If Saturday’s game is anything like last season’s crazy nine-goal thriller then any neutrals will be delighted, but as there will be very few neutrals I think every Sunderland fan will be willing to sacrifice a bit of entertainment for a 1-0 win, even if it is not too easy on the eye.
Sunderland have two huge games this week in cup and league and while tonight’s cup game won’t define Sunderland’s season the result will be massive in determining the mood both players and fans take into the Coventry game - and that is a fixture that could define our season.