Sunderland's Anthony Patterson reveals Jimmy Montgomery’s advice and how he’s improved over ‘mad’ 12 months

When reflecting on the past year and what he’s achieved in such a short space of time, Sunderland goalkeeper Anthony Patterson describes the last 12 months as a ‘mad’ experience.
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Mad in a good sense of course, as it was only the previous January when the 22-year-old was recalled from a loan spell at National League side Notts County, thrown into the thick of Sunderland’s League One promotion battle when the club’s other goalkeepers were struck down by illness.

Since then Patterson has established himself as the Black Cats’ first-choice stopper, won promotion in a play-off final at Wembley and impressed in the Championship by starting all of his side’s league games this campaign.

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He also showed his worth to Tony Mowbray’s side with an excellent performance during the Black Cats’ 1-1 draw at Fulham in the FA Cup, making a superb double save in stoppage-time to deny Bobby Decordova-Reid and Willian.

Anthony Patterson playing for Sunderland against Fulham in the FA Cup.Anthony Patterson playing for Sunderland against Fulham in the FA Cup.
Anthony Patterson playing for Sunderland against Fulham in the FA Cup.

"I think I’ve improved massively over a short period of time really,” Patterson tells the Echo after the game at Craven Cottage.

“I just keep on learning, I’m still young and I’m still improving game on game so it’s something I always want to do.

“I think my overall game knowledge has improved, commanding my box and I think I am more of a presence back there now, helping the team out coming for crosses and looking to help the team out by making saves.”

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"We always look back at our clips after the games and aways pick little bits that we think could be better and bits that have been good.

“It’s just always good to look back on them and see how you can develop and improve.”

While Sunderland’s team is young, Patterson has benefitted playing behind experienced pros such as Danny Batth, Luke O’Nien and Bailey Wright.

When asked about the aforementioned players, Patterson adds: “They have given me huge confidence and are always saying to me be more vocal, we trust you type of thing.

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“It’s always great playing behind them and knowing that they are in front of me and have my back.”

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Sunderland have a history of big goalkeeping performances in the FA Cup, a competition they won 50 years ago in 1973.

In that year’s competition Jim Montgomery made a stunning double save in the final against Leeds, with Patterson taking inspiration from the former Black Cats stopper.

“I’ve met him a few times,” the 22-year-old explains. “Jim often comes in and I often speak to Jim quite a bit and he always gives me advice.

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"The one thing he always says is ‘are you enjoying it still’ and I respond with ‘yes’ obviously. He just says keep enjoying it and that’s his advice to me.”

Now Sunderland will welcome Fulham back to the Stadium of Light for a replay next month, while the Black Cats are also within a point of the Championship play-off places.

“I think we can achieve anything really and if you look at the league table it’s really tight,” Patterson replies when asked what is possible this season.

"If we can put a good run together I think we can quite easily make the play-offs.”