Football - O'Neill plotting cup run

Manager Martin O'Neill is targeting an FA Cup run worthy of the 40th anniversary of Sunderland's famous triumph in the competition.

PA Sport

Sunderland were in the old Second Division when they stunned favourites and cup holders Leeds at Wembley in 1973, with the late Ian Porterfield scoring the only goal.

As a boyhood Black Cats fan, O'Neill is well aware of the significance of that victory in the club's history and would love to mark the 40th anniversary in fitting style.

"We have to make a couple changes in the team but it wouldn't be a case of making them for the sake of it," O'Neill said ahead of the third-round tie at Bolton.

"It's a competition we would like to do well in; we got to the quarter-finals last year, which is as good a run as we have had in a few years.

"It is important for the fans and the football club and while we accept that in recent times the Premier League has been the be-all and end-all, it should not detract away from it.

"I consider it a fantastic competition and there's untold advantages of trying to stay in the competition.

"I went to watch Bolton on Tuesday and I thought they played very well against Leeds (in a 1-0 defeat at Elland Road) and they will go into the game with very little to lose and play with some sort of freedom. We have to try and guard against that.

"It's the 40-year anniversary of our great triumph at Wembley and for that reason alone it's worth our while to try and stay in the competition as it's still a great competition."

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