When the draw was made and we got Sunderland, (one of the big cup ties of the 4th round) I would rather have got them at home but even so I was buzzing at the thought of playing one of our local rivals, a great occasion for the players and fans alike, these are the games football is all about.
Local derbies full of passion, guts, complete commitment, and with a big crowd the noise should be echoing from the fans singing their hearts out for the full game. We haven’t played Sunderland in a few years, in fact last time we played them was in January 09 the year we got relegated from the premier league. So it’s about time we played a big game!
Our performances of late in the championship haven’t been up to scratch and games like these can be a nice distraction from the league. It hasn’t helped losing a key player in Nicky Bailey who really does make our team tick. Ideally I would have loved us to have our full team out that started the season. Though anything possible on Sunday it’s a one off game and we have nothing to lose.
It will be a new experience for a lot of our players who have never played against Sunderland before. I know a few of the local lads on twitter, Joe Bennett and Richard Smallwood cant wait for the game and are as excited as the fans. These are the type of games you can become an instant hero with the fans. What a game it could be for Lukas Jutkiewicz (The Juke) his full debut a derby game. A repeat of Chris Riggott’s debut at the SOL would be the perfect debut for The Juke to become an instant Boro hero by scoring two against the mackems!
The game sees Matthew Bates our captain up against Former Boro player Lee Cattermole, Sunderland’s captain who still has Boro at heart. It will be a great occasion for them, being good mates since their younger days and both from Boro Youth Cup Winning team in 2004. All will be forgotten when the game gets underway at 1.30pm though!
I was at the SOL when an Emerson thunderbolt and Robbie Mustoe scored in a 2-1 win, in our 97/98 promotion season how I would love a repeat of that score this weekend. I do fancy us to get a replay and bring them back to Riverside which would be great wouldn’t it? A packed Riverside, electric atmosphere and much needed money generated to invest back in the club.
I’ll still be dreaming tonight of one of our local lads sticking the winner in and us fans going mental at getting one over our local rivals! Come on Boro!
Match Prediction 1-1
I leave you with two of our wins at The Sol.