Will Sunderland and Middlesbrough bosses take the FA Cup seriously?

Chris Coleman and Kit Symons
Chris Coleman and Kit Symons
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This season’s FA Cup may not be a priority for Sunderland and Middlesbrough right now, but what can we expect when the sides meet in the third round of the competition tomorrow?

Both clubs have recently appointed new mangers, with Chris Coleman fighting to keep the Black Cats in the Championship, while Tony Pulis will be hoping to mount a promotion challenge with Boro in the second half of the campaign.

But how seriously will they take the FA Cup as a result? Will they both view Saturday’s clash as a hindrance or an opportunity to build some momentum for their respective league campaigns?

Here, we take a look at the managers’ previous FA Cup records to see how they might treat this year’s competition.

Chris Coleman

The FA Cup played a big part in Coleman’s first season as a manager, after he took charge of Premier League outfit Fulham ahead of the 2003/04 season.

Boro boss Tony Pulis.

Boro boss Tony Pulis.

After accumulating 28 points in the first half of the campaign, the Cottagers gave the cup a real go and were only stopped by eventual winners Manchester United in the quarter-finals.

The following season, Coleman’s men reached the fifth round again before losing 1-0 away to Bolton Wanderers, courtesy of Kevin Davies’ close-range finish.

But in 2005, a strong Fulham side came unstuck against League One Leyton Orient at Craven Cottage, as they were stunned 2-1 in front of their own fans.

A strong start to the 2006/07 league campaign gave Coleman another opportunity to take the cup seriously, but after edging past Leicester City in a third-round reply and brushing aside Stoke, the Cottagers were thumped 4-0 at home to Tottenham in round five.

Coleman also has fond memories of the competition from his two-year stint at Coventry between 2008 and 2010.

The Sky Blues spent much of Coleman’s first season in the middle of the Championship, and a run to the FA Cup quarter-finals - which ended with a 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea - proved to be the highlight.

Coleman faced a tougher task during his second season at the Ricoh Arena, when Coventry’s FA Cup hopes were dashed in a third-round replay against Premier League strugglers Portsmouth.

After vowing to name a full-strength side for the game at the Riverside, it appears Coleman may not have many options due to the Black Cats’ ever-growing injury list.

History suggests the Sunderland boss will treat the game just like an important league encounter, and name the strongest possible side at his disposal.

Former Boro goalkeeper Jason Steele may be hoping for a recall against his former side, and Coleman has been inclined to rotate his keepers for cup games in the past.

Tony Pulis

Pulis failed to make it past the third round of the FA Cup in the early stages of his managerial career, after spending two years in the third tier with Bournemouth before a four-year spell at Gillingham.

But, after taking charge of Stoke in 2002, Pulis used the competition as a springboard to build some momentum, as the Potters made it to the fifth round when they were in real danger of being relegated to the third tier.

Even so, during the next few seasons, Stoke’s FA Cup memories were bleak, as they failed to make it past the fourth round under Pulis until 2010.

In that time, the Potters suffered a shock 2-0 defeat away at League One Hartlepool after Pulis made seven changes for the third-round tie.

The Welshman did, however, lead his side to the final of the competition in 2011, before narrowly losing 1-0 to Manchester City at Wembley courtesy of Yaya Toure’s 74th minute strike.

Stoke reached the quarter-finals of the cup for a third successive time the following year before running into eventual finalists Liverpool.

Pulis hasn’t enjoyed the same success in the competition since leaving Staffordshire, though, and the 59-year-old has lost to lower-league opponents in his single season at Crystal Palace and during his two years at West Brom.

After just two games in charge, Boro’s new manager is still getting to know his players and will probably want to look at his options before the end of the January transfer window.

Despite Premier League survival taking precedence at his previous two clubs, Pulis has given the impression that the FA Cup still matters to him.

Last season, Pulis selected several first-team players for West Brom’s third-round clash at home to Derby, but the hosts surrendered a one-goal lead to lose 2-1.