Sunderland could have two Premier League midweek matches to arrange in the closing weeks of the season – a potentially good omen for the Black Cats’ survival hopes.
David Moyes’ men, battling to climb off the foot of the table, will definitely have to rearrange the Tees-Wear derby against Middlesbrough, because of Boro’s FA Cup progress.
And the probability is that the visit to Arsenal next month will also be postponed, for a similar reason.
Boro’s 3-2 weekend FA Cup win over Oxford United means that they will now be playing Huddersfield or Manchester City on quarter-final weekend, forcing off the scheduled March 11 league clash with Sunderland.
If Arsenal progress past non-league Sutton United in tonight’s televised fifth round tie, they will be at home to National League giantkillers Lincoln City in the quarter-finals, and clear favourites to reach the last four.
As the semi-finals are set for April 22 and 23, the Gunners’ expected progress would mean that Sunderland’s visit to the Emirates that weekend would also be postponed.
Sunderland have stayed up in each of the past three seasons because of results in the final midweek of the season, beating West Brom in 2014, drawing with Arsenal in 2015 and thumping Everton last season.
FA Cup quarter-final draw:
Chelsea v Manchester United
Middlesbrough v Huddersfield or Man City
Tottenham Hotspur v Millwall
Sutton Utd or Arsenal v Lincoln City
Ties: March 10-13