The FA Cup action returns this weekend which means some sides in League One and League Two get a bit of time off.
For Sunderland, though, the games keep on coming with a game against Walsall in between them and the third round.
As we do usually, then, we caught up with Gary McLaughlin from We Are Wearside ahead of the game…
A fine win against Barnsley earlier this week – how much confidence have fans taken from that?
They were the best team I’ve seen at the Stadium of Light, it was a great game for the neutrals.
I think the game showed us at our best, but also showed that we’re still vulnerable if a team is good enough.
The first goal was very poor, the other was a set piece – it’s basic defending stuff. Our defensive record is good, but I do think teams can score against us if they have that bit of quality which, thankfully, a lot of the league doesn’t have.
From an attacking perspective it gives me a lot of confidence. Aiden McGeady looks head and shoulders above everyone else in this league in terms of ability, and Josh Maja continues to show that few possess such a natural ability to finish.
Lots of football to be played this season, but we’re in a position now that anything other than automatic promotion would be a failure.
FA Cup action returns this weekend – are you expecting Ross to ring the changes?
No I don’t think so. We played a full strength side in the first round and I think we’ll do something similar. A good cup run is great for any club, let alone a League One club who needs to find revenue from anywhere it can. It would be nice to get through a pull a Premier League side in the 3rd round.
That said, are there any youngsters/fringe players who could get a chance?
I hope Luke O’Nien gets a chance from the start, not a youngster in the sense of a youth player, but he’s had a really good impact off the bench in the last three or four games and, in my opinion, has earned a chance to start.
Otherwise I hope we put out a strong side, I’m not sure any of our academy players are ready to take over from the seniors. A couple played in the Carabao Cup and that’s probably the competition they’ll be used more in.
It’s another game against Walsall after the recent league meeting – what will the Black Cats have taken from that match for this one?
That we can beat them, absolutely. We came back from two goals down despite being down to 10 men since midway through the first half.
We punished them for defensive lapses – like we’ve done to teams all season. You have to believe that, if we can do that, we’ve got a great chance this weekend. We’ve played poorer sides then Walsall this year though, it’s not a foregone conclusion.
I find it really hard to back against Sunderland at the moment, so I think we’ll squeeze through in a tight game, 2-1.