How Sunderland and Charlton Athletic will prepare for potential penalty drama revealed ahead of League One play-off final
Jack Ross says Sunderland will practice penalties this week, but insists there is no way of replicating the pressure of a Wembley shootout.
The Black Cats lost the Checkatrade Trophy final to Portsmouth on penalties in March, with Lee Cattermole the only player to miss in what was a high-quality shootout.Ross says his side will prepare for the possibility again this Sunday they take on Charlton Athletic.
Should the game go that far, however, he says it will be about 'a bit of bottle and a bit of fate'.
"Because we had the Checkatrade final and because we had the Portsmouth play-off tie, we did some work on our penalties prior to those games," Ross said.
"We’ll do so again this week, but it’s more about the repetition for players and knowing where they would look to put the ball, rather than trying to replicate what they’ll face.
"You can’t 80,000 people, the tension, etc.
"I know there’s a lot of schools of thought on the best way to do it, but the truth is it’s just about a little bit of bottle and a little bit of fate," he added.
"We’ll do that this week, to make sure we’re prepared for any eventuality."
Charlton Athletic made it to Wembley after edging out Doncaster Rovers on penalties at the Valley.
Before that game, manager Lee Bowyer insisted that his side would not practice.
"We will not practice penalties," he said.
"I do not think you can recreate it.
"I know myself, I missed two or three in those situations and I would have practiced for about a week before. You cannot recreate the pressure and the tiredness. They have played 90 minutes and an extra half hour, your legs are not the same. They are like jelly."
Goalkeeper Dillon Phillips was the hero at the Valley, and admitted he has gone purely with instinct.
"Earlier on in the season I conceded a penalty against Peterborough and we worked it out he’d be going a certain way,” he said.
“He went the complete opposite way.
“I said to Marsh before the Plymouth game that I don’t want to know where they’ve been, or where you think they’re going to go. Let me just go with my instinct.
“We do penalties at the training ground quite often. I fancy myself to save a penalty whoever I’m facing. I was lucky that I went the right way for one of them. Marshy [goalkeeping coach] asked me ‘do you want the information?’ and I just said ‘I don’t want to know.’ I just went off my gut instinct."