FA Cup a Welcome League Break for Sunderland 

League break for Sunderland

Sunderland take a break from league football this weekend as they entertain Mansfield Town at the Stadium of Light in the FA Cup first round. The Black Cats have endured a disastrous last three games and this Saturday could a welcome league break for Sunderland – if they win. 

Welcome League Break for Sunderland as They Look to Progress in FA Cup

Poor Form Needs Addressing and Confidence Rebuilt

Following an impressive start to the season where Lee Johnson’s new-look team looked like genuine title contenders, results and performances have faltered badly. A first home defeat of the season against the then lowly and managerless Charlton Athletic was followed by successive away defeats where the team capitulated, losing 5-1 at Rotherham United and 3-0 at Sheffield Wednesday. 

Saturday brings the chance to get back to winning ways against League Two outfit Mansfield. Lee Johnson is expected to make a number of changes to give some players a break and give others the chance to shine and force their way into the first team. 

A win and a good performance for the Black Cats is a must to halt their recent poor results. Some fans have questioned the team’s ability to challenge for promotion and also head coach Lee Johnson. A victory would help settle any discontent and give the club the boost it needs before league football resumes. 

Lee Johnson Looking for a Response 

Speaking following the recent two away defeats and ahead of the FA Cup game, Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson says he is looking for a response from his squad.

He said: “Yes we are disappointed but it is how we respond. We want to win all of our games. We are trying to create a winning culture, the league is the most important, but we have won every single cup game since Mansfield last season.

“I am keen to stress that we give everything that we have to go and win the game.

“No part of his is going into the game half-hearted, whether it’s Arsenal or Mansfield, we’re going to give the best version of ourselves, which we haven’t done that in recent games.”

Potential Banana Skin? 

Sunderland face Mansfield at the Stadium of Light in the first round of the FA Cup for the second consecutive season. In 2020, the Stag’s new manager Nigel Clough, who was born in Sunderland, heaped more misery on the Black Cats manager at the time Phil Parkinson as they recorded a 1-0 victory. 

Sunderland have almost an entirely new squad now with many acquisitions arriving and youngsters being promoted to the first-team squad. This is a potential banana skin for Lee Johnson’s team due to their recent form. However, they face a Mansfield side with just three league wins all season and currently lying in 20th position in League Two. 

Town recorded their first win since August 14 last weekend when they beat Tranmere Rovers 2-0. Boss Nigel Clough has insisted his team won’t be travelling to Wearside just to make up the numbers.

Speaking to iFollow Stags, he said: “Hopefully we can relax and play off the back of a victory. We want to continue playing well, not just for the FA Cup but after that as well.

“We won’t be putting half a team out. We will be going there to win. We just need to keep playing as we have in recent weeks. [In] Our last three performances we deserved to have seven points rather than four from nine.” 

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