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The oppositions opinion – Peterborough United v Sunderland (FA Cup 3)

The magic of the FA Cup is set to return this weekend and for the third season running Posh will face Premier League opposition. This time round its Sunderland who will be travelling to London Road with the match set to be a tasty encounter.

Since the appointment of Martin O’Neill Sunderland are now in the form of their season standing undefeated in four games. Things for Posh are also looking rosy as they stand five games undefeated with performances ever improving.

With only 25 league positions separating the two teams Posh definitely stand a chance of claiming a Premier League scalp and like we all know anything can happen at London Road.

Ahead of the game I caught up with Simon Walsh from The Roker Report to find out what camp Sunderland think about the tie:

Since the appointment of Martin O’Neill your results have improved, have you noticed any difference in the way your team plays?
There’s much more unity about the team, and a desire to work hard for each other. There’s a spirit that hasn’t been present for a long time and it’s very refreshing. The other noticeable difference has been we look much more organised. Everyone’s just focussing on what they have to do, and not worrying about each other’s game.

We see this cup tie as a good draw, how do Sunderland fans feel about the draw?
In all honesty I’d have liked a really easy team so we could blood a few youths, but I suppose The Posh represent a good challenge.

Do you expect you will field a full first team side or give some younger players a chance?
I think we’ll be taking the game seriously, and playing a strong as possible team. We’ve a lot of injuries at the moment, so it’s whichever eleven can put themselves out there! There are one or two changes we could make, but I wouldn’t expect to see wholesale changes.

Do you fear for a giant killing or is this a straight forward game for you?
Definitely a fear, there always is when you play a team lower ranked than yourselves. Plus I read a stat recently that said in our nine Premier League seasons (combined) we’ve only been beyond the fourth round twice, which is quite shameful really.

Do you feel the FA Cup should be taken seriously by your team this season or should you just concentrate on the league?
Horses for courses. I hate to see the competition devalued with teams not fielding their so called ‘strongest’ eleven, but it’s also a squad game now, and what a team’s ‘strongest side’ is very much up for debate.

Are Posh on Sunderland’s radar or are we just another lower league side?
I’m sure you’re on the radar, but if I’m honest I can’t say I’ve seen much, if anything of Peterborough this season. I think it’s a little harsh on yourselves to be saying ‘lower league’ though, as the gap between The Championship and the bottom of the Premier League is getting narrower and narrower. It’s not long ago we were there ourselves.

Is there anyone in the posh squad who you will be particularly wary of?
As said before, I honestly don’t know too much about your lot, but I do know Emile Sinclair. I live down in Macclesfield and saw him on numerous occasions when SAFC weren’t playing. I always thought he was rubbish at that level, and couldn’t believe he moved up the ranks to The Championship.

So it’s now absolutely nailed on he’ll score a hat-trick, whilst I quaff a large glass of my own words.

Who will be your key man?
Probably Lee Cattermole. He’s been a different player since O’Neill came in, and we’re keeping a very close eye on him to make sure he doesn’t fall off this wagon he’s on!

What player has surprised you the most this season?
ames McClean has done very well. He’s been a real find. He’s been a real breath of fresh air in the way he plays, a real out-and-out winger, and looks like being a fixture in the side for a long time to come.

Finally what’s your score prediction?
I’m going for 2-0 to us, but not quite as comfortable as the scoreline would suggest. Goalscorers being second half goals for Stephane Sessegnon and Ji Dong-Won.

Follow The Roker Report on twitter @RokerReport

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