"Lewis Carroll started his journeys to China from Sunderland. In fact he thought of the title for
’Alice in Wonderland’ when he thought of Sunderland and changed the first letter.
Thank goodness he wasn’t travelling to Nanking."
Humphrey Lyttelton (I’m sorry I haven’t a clue)
We have our third meeting with the Black Cats in less than 3 weeks as we head off to the Stadium of Light to decide who has the honour of visiting Bolton Wanderers in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. Currently in 3rd place in the League One table (but with a couple of games in hand over 2nd placed Luton Town) the opinion of some Sunderland fans is that it really won’t matter if they exit this competition - promotion is far more important in the long term. Their current form is well-known - just look back at the match previews available … nothing changed after their most recent game, as they were 1-1 with Accrington Stanley (in front of a record crowd) when the heavens opened and the referee decided the pitch was unplayable.
Dean Keates will have carried out his detailed post-match analysis of the Coventry City game by the time this match gets under way, and it will be interesting to see his reactions in terms of team selection. According to the Excuse & Stir George Dobson was missing because of injury, so his selection is possibly doubtful, and it has also been suggested that Andy Cook’s position is also problematic because of previous bookings in this competition. What is certain is that the squad’s morale will be on a high after the dramatic 2-1 win on Saturday, although it was noticeable that one or two players were often more of a liability than an asset (no names, no packdrill).
Prediction? If the Saddlers play in the same format (and with the same attitude) that we saw in the 2nd half against the Sky Blues, we are quite capable on winning this one - even in the 4th minute of added time However, if the 1st half performance of that game is repeated there would seem little hope of a Walsall win, or even a dangerous attack. Going on “In Dean we trust”, I’ll predict a 0-1 away win, with Liam Roberts (again) winning the man-of-the-match award.