Date: 5th January 2008 at 11:00am
Written by:

Wigan Athletic and Sunderland go in to todays 3rd FA cup tie at the Stadium of Light taking a welcome break from the pressure of Premier League football.

Two clubs with a good cup tradition behind them

Sunderland famous winners in the centenary final of 1973 when Jim Montgomerys heroics kept out Don Revies Mighty Leeds United after Ian Potterfield had given the Black Cats the lead and enabled Bob Stokoes men to lift the Cup

Montgomery pulled off a string of stunning saves but one in particular; a double save from Peter Lorimer was at the time described as the best save ever made.

In contrast Latics made their name as cup giant killers whilst as a non-league side beating a host of league clubs in the early rounds of the competition

Latics still hold the record of the highest winning margin of a non-league club over league opponents, a 6-0 thrashing of Carlisle United saw to that.

Latics, it could be argued owe their league existence to the FA cup

Following a third round tie at Birmingham City in 1977 they impressed the City manager, a certain Alf Ramsey, so much by their professionalism that he endorsed the Latics application to become a league club the following June

Both managers, Sunderlands Roy Keane and Latics Steve Bruce enjoyed great success as team mates in Manchester Uniteds FA cup winning sides of the 90`s.

So back to today and with the history and love affair these two clubs have with the cup why take it so light?

Both managers are expected to make wholesale changes so that they can ‘look` at other members of their squads, indeed former Latics midfielder Graham Kavanagh is expected to line up for Sunderland today, over a year since his last appearance for them.

Its sad that the FA cup 3rd Round doesn`t have the same magic that it once had, its also sad that teams like Sunderland and Latics wont give it a real go this afternoon

Vital Quotes:

Latics boss Steve Bruce:

I’m a traditionalist so I think we should always cherish the FA Cup,’ he said.

‘I admit the third round is not like it used to be but, for me, it’s still the best cup competition there is.

‘We should do our utmost to enhance it and now it’s back to Wembley, there’s nothing better, in my eyes.

‘When you’ve had the privilege of getting there and enjoying an FA Cup experience, it’s one of the highlights of your career.

‘I was fortunate to play behind Roy when he was just reaching his peak. I won the 1994 FA Cup final with him and it was the start of what he turned into – one of the great players that this country’s produced.

‘We both understand that the most important thing for both teams is to remain in the Premier League, that’s our bread and butter’

‘But make no mistake, an FA Cup run can always add a bit of magic to your season and if you are fortunate enough to get to the final, it’s a wonderful experience.’

Sunderland boss Roy Keane:

‘I’m looking forward to meeting up with him (Steve Bruce) afterwards and having a chat.

‘He is someone who I have a great deal of time and respect for, and I know that he will be looking to win this game too.

‘A cup run can give any club a lift, and that’s what both managers will be looking for at the weekend.

‘We’ve had a few good games against each other already as managers, and hopefully tomorrow’s is one where Sunderland will come out on top.’

Sunderland Team News:

Dwight Yorke suspended, striker Kenwyne Jones struggling Etuhu (medial ligament) is out, while Darren Ward (back), Danny Higginbotham (broken toe) and Michael Chopra (ankle) are doubts

Sunderland from:

Gordon, Ward, Fulop, McShane, Halford, Harte, Evans, Higginbotham, Collins, Leadbitter, Wallace, Whitehead, Richardson, O’Donovan, Jones, Chopra, Waghorn, Murphy, Stokes,Kavanagh, Cole.

Player to watch: Kierron Richardson

Ex-Manchester United and a good left foot

Wigan AThletic Team News:

Andreas Granqvist will come in for the suspended Titus Bramble and Salomon Olembe is set to start whileJason Koumas could return to the starting line-up after recovering from a hip injury

Latics from:

Kirkland, Melchiot, Taylor, Boyce, Bramble, Kilbane, Valencia, Brown, Scharner, Landzaat, Koumas, Bent, Heskey, Aghahowa, Granqvist, Olembe, Koumas, Skoko, Cotterill, Sibierski, Pollitt.

Player to watch: Jason Koumas

Lots to prove after speculation that he was leaving

Match Facts & Stats

? One of the ties that will ensure that at least four Premier League clubs fall by the wayside at the first time of asking.

? With these clubs straddling the safety line, it’s questionable whether a lengthy FA Cup run would be high on the priority list for either club.

? Two former Manchester United club mates with six FA Cup winners’ medals between them plot tactics from the dugouts.

? Roy Keane won four FA Cup winners’ medals with Manchester United (1994, 1996, 1999 and 2004)

? Steve Bruce has two FA Cup winners’ medals; winning with Manchester United in 1990 and 1994.

Ref Watch:

Referee: Mike Riley (West Yorkshire)

Match Prediction:

Heart says Latics 2-0 win

Head syas dreaded 1-1 draw

Next Fixtures:

Premier League
Derby County Vs Latics
Pride Park
Saturday 12/01/2008
3 pm

Premier League
Latics Vs Everton
Sunday 20/01/2008
1-45 pm