ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - Sunderland
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Posted by Lars Knutsen on 03/27/2012

I have a sneaking feeling that Niklas Bendtner, our Danish masked raider who has scored 3 in 4 games, will play a key role alongside Sessegnon in tomorrow’s game, which is the biggest match for many years: the FA Cup quarter-final replay against Everton at the Stadium of Light. The City has been caught up in FA Cup fever, and there is an expectation of a sell-out tomorrow, with captain Lee Cattermole returning to the line-up.

I have no doubt that Martin O’Neill will have a well-worked out game plan, and we will compete, being on a great run at the SSOL, having completed an excellent demolition of QPR on Saturday. Sunderland and Everton are two evenly-matched sides, who have played out two 1-1 draws so far this season.

Everton have a real incentive to win, with the lure of facing Liverpool at Wembley, but we now have the upper hand in this tie, having neutralised the Toffees 10 days ago at Goodison. Sunderland have a real momentum at home, with just a single loss to Arsenal since Martin O’Neill took over as manager.

Everton are in the midst of a punishing schedule of 5 games within 17 days. Manager David Moyes will be without Steven Pienaar, who played very well in the win at Swansea, but is cup-tied. His other January signing, Darren Gibson, is turning out to be their lucky mascot, reviving his career on Merseyside; Everton have not yet lost when he has featured.

The likely teams in what will doubtless be a terrific, fast-paced and old-fashioned cup-tie are as follows: Sunderland (4-4-2): Mignolet; Bardsley, Kyrgiakos, Turner, Bridge; Larsson, Cattermole, Vaughan, McClean; Sessegnon, Bendtner. It would be tough on Colback to be left out, but Vaughan played well on Saturday.

Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Drenthe, Gibson, Fellaini, Osman; Cahill; Jelavic, and the ref. is L. Probert (Wilts).

This game is huge for both clubs and can be watched on ITV at 7.30pm.
©Lars J.S. Knutsen

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Lars Knutsen Lars Knutsen was born in Sunderland of Norwegian parents across the Wear from the SSOL back when shipbuilding not car manufacture was the city’s main industry. His first game was in 1968 and he has followed the Black Cats since then, with great memories of the 1973 FA Cup. He hopes the “yo-yo” days are over and defines supporting a team by whether the result affects your mood (but maybe not in the way portrayed in the book “Fever Pitch”!) so has been cheerful recently. He endured school in Newc**tle, has a Ph.D. in Chemistry, a Professorship at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, and works in the Pharma industry as a consultant Medicinal Chemist.

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