27 January 2023

Tony Mowbray urges Sunderland to embrace ‘great test’ against Fulham in FA Cup

27 January 2023

Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray believes their FA Cup fourth-round clash with Fulham provides a “great test” for his side against Premier League opposition.

Two stoppage-time goals saw the Black Cats edge to a 2-1 victory in the third round against League One outfit Shrewsbury and set up a visit to Craven Cottage on Saturday.

The Cottagers, who are seventh in the top flight, knocked out Hull in the previous round and Mowbray is looking forward to the challenge.

“We want to try and do well but we have to put into context that we are playing a team that are one of the form teams in the Premier League at this moment,” said Mowbray, whose side are ninth in the Sky Bet Championship.

“They’ve lost two really tight games, but I’ve watched both of those games and they probably didn’t deserve to lose either of them.

“I think the balance for their manager is do they try and find a winning way again or do they look to the next league game?

“Whoever they play, whatever team they put out, they are going to be really difficult to play against and we should be ready for that. I don’t see it as a game to put all the kids in and it doesn’t really matter.

“On the back of a huge travelling support, we should go and be competitive against a really good team on a high at the moment and go to see where we are, check our credentials to see if we can compete with a team flying in the Premier League at the moment.

“We will go and hopefully it is a good experience for the young players and it’s a great test for us all to test ourselves against a team who are doing really well in the Premier League.”

The FA Cup has a rich history and 2023 marks 50 years since Sunderland last lifted the trophy, with Ian Porterfield’s strike proving the difference to beat First Division side Leeds in the final.

Mowbray reminisced on his own memories of “an amazing competition”.

He said: “I think it’s probably a generational thing, people of my generation still see it as an amazing competition, the world’s greatest competition once upon a time.

“I think probably the whole world stopped in the ’70s when I was a kid growing up, I know I’ve talked about the experiences in my household, the curtains were drawn, the lager cans were out, the sandwiches were made, the pork pies were ready and everyone was around.

“An army of men from the pub came to our house and watched the Cup final and it was just a real occasion, it used to be the biggest game in the world I think.

“Here you are generations on and it doesn’t feel as important as other games, to the point where it got changed to a 5pm kick-off not too long ago.

“I think anybody who really loves football, it’s a massive tournament, it’s still something you should want to try and win.”

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