Sunderland manager wary of Bolton

Martin O'Neill with Bolton boss Dougie Freedman
Martin O'Neill with Bolton boss Dougie Freedman
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SUNDERLAND will not take Bolton’s FA Cup challenge lightly this evening, says Martin O’Neill.

And the Black Cats’ boss insists that no one should consider the job almost done from a Sunderland perspective, just because they have home advantage.

“There will be no complacency from us, although we’re going into the game determined to be in the hat for the next round,” he said.

“I expect Bolton to be difficult opponents tonight, just as they were at the Reebok.

“I said before that game that they were more than capable of posing us problems and that’s the way it proved on the day – we had to come back from a 2-0 deficit just to survive and get to this replay.

“I watched Bolton play Leeds before our cup tie and was impressed with how they played.

“I was even more impressed with how they played in tie because they rested key players like Kevin Davies and Chris Eagles but still gave us a really good game.

“Tonight they might field a stronger side and they also have players coming back, so we have to be careful that we do not under-estimate the opposition.

“I don’t think that we will though after our experiences in the original tie.”

Sunderland fought back from slipping two goals behind just after half-time in that game to mount a stirring comeback which thrilled their 5,000 travelling fans.

And O’Neill believes that the quality of that rearguard action helped propel Sunderland to one of their finest performances of the season in the 3-0 demolition of West Ham last weekend.

“It was quite an effort to come back from two goals down in that cup game and the players were on a real high afterwards.

“I think they carried that into the West Ham game and that helped them produce the excellent performance they did.

“I’d love to see us build on that again tonight because you could see the confidence really flowing through the side on Saturday and while you don’t want to tempt fate, you do hope that we’re getting a bit of momentum now.”

O’Neill says he is genuinely looking forward to tonight’s game and the cup atmosphere in front of a night crowd at the Stadium of Light.

He said: “The fans have been a big part of what we’ve achieved in the last few weeks.

“They were great away to Southampton, at home to Manchester City and away at Bolton where I think they had a big influence.

“They were great against West Ham and I think they’ll have an impact tonight and all we want to do is deliver a good result for them and get something of a cup run going.”