Peterborough United -Vs- Sunderland - Preview
Peterborough United kick off their FA Cup campaign as Sunderland travel to London Road.
Peterborough United -Vs- Sunderland
Venue: London Road
Date:8th January, 2012
Posh have a break from Championship action as they take to the pitch in the FA Cup Third Round against Premiership Outfit Sunderland.
Martin O`Neil brings his Sunderland side to London Road for his first FA Cup game since joining the club. Sunderland have been impressive in recent fixtures, including wins against QPR, Wigan, and most notably premier league high flyers Manchester City
Posh are still without the injured captain Grant McCann and Lee Frecklington. Lee Tomlin could be fit enough for a place on the subs bench. Mark Little is also expected to continue on the bench after fantastic performances by Craig Alcock in his absence. Grant McCann and Frecklington are expected to be out of action for another three to four weeks. Nicky Ajose arrived back from his loan deal at Scunthorpe but cannot be named in the squad as he is cup tied. Kelvin Langmead was released by the club on Thursday, and so will play no part in the fixture.
There could be a change in goal for Sunday`s game. If Joe Lewis is not in the starting line up, it is rumoured that he could be leaving the club this January without being cup-tied. If this happens it will be Paul Jones that starts in goal.
Youngster Joe Newell is expected to keep his place on the left side of the diamond after an impressive display and an assist in the 1-1 draw against Birmingham.
Manchester United loanees Scott Wooton and Ryan Tunnicliffe could also keep their places in the team with both showing a lot of potential in recent weeks.
Youth team players Dan Lawlor and Peter Grant are expected to retain their places on the substitute`s bench with their being a lack of first team players available. Posh can name 7 substitutes for this game; this could see the return of highly rated 15 year old Jaanai Gordon-Hutton returning to the substitute`s bench. This also means forward Emile Sinclair, who has been particularly poor in recent matches, will start up front with Paul Taylor.
Vital Posh predicts the starting line-up could be:
Alcock, Bennett, Zakuani, Rowe
Martin O`Neil is expected to stick to his strongest line up, with the likes of Stephane Sessegnon and Nicklas Bendtner likely to start up front.
Midfielder James McClean could start again after scoring against Wigan in midweek. McClean was a summer target for Posh and nearly signed, until Sunderland put in an offer he couldn`t refuse. It`s unlikely that he will get a very good reception from the London Road faithful...
From Ryan Bennett:
"People would have expected us to probably struggle at Middlesbrough and against Birmingham City, but we knew as a team and as a club that we could go out and give both of them a game and I think we were unlucky to only come away with two points.
"Sunderland are in good form, but so are we. It is a big cup tie for them as well as it is for us. I am sure it will be an exciting game and both teams will go all out to try and progress into the fourth round.
"They have some really talented players. Niklas Bendtner is decent in the air and very strong. He is not as big as Birmingham striker Nikola Zigic was. He is probably the tallest man in the Football League and awkward to play against in the air. Bendnter is far more mobile.
"Stéphane Sessègnon looks a lively player. I have only seen what everyone else has seen on the television at the minute, but I am sure we will be watching him closely on some DVDs. I am looking forward to the challenge to be honest.
"It will be a hard test against whoever they put out, whether it be their first team or a few of their reserves. We have done okay on television in recent seasons. We have showcased what we are all about and hopefully that will continue on Sunday. If we can go out there and carry on our league form, then I am sure we can put on a good show,' Bennett said to www.theposh.com.
From Mark Little:
"I feel great, I am back than sooner than I expected. The surgeon initially said between four to six weeks, but it has been just over three so I am obviously delighted to be available for selection.
"It was great to get on against Birmingham and I felt okay. I didn't have to do too many overlapping runs, so that probably helped!
"I am really looking forward to the Sunderland game and if I get a chance to be involved then I will do my best to stay in the team because competition for places is fierce. Craig Alcock has performed very well, I have watched him closely while I have been out and he has put in some unbelievable displays at right back and left-back.
"Sunderland are a big club and have some top players. The back four they could field is full of ex-Manchester United players and I am sure if they were still at Old Trafford, a few of them may be playing now! The squad are in confident mood at the minute and everybody is excited about Sunday,' Little said to www.theposh.com.
STATS & FACTS
Posh will be looking to advance to the fourth round and will be hoping their isn`t a repeat of last seasons result when the Posh lost 6-2 away at Premier League Fulham
Martin O`Neil`s side have been in fine for since he took the reins.
Head to Head statistics between these two teams can be found HERE.
8 - McCann
7 - Sinclair
6 - Taylor
5 - Tomlin
5 - Frecklington
5 - Boyd
5 - Larsson
4 - Sessegnon
3 - Bendtner
2 - Gardner
2 - Ji Dong Wong
Martin O`Neil`s side have been in great form since he took charge, and with a strong team expected to start the game, its likely that that could continue.
This could be a very close game with not a lot between the teams. But it also could be a very high scoring game with both teams having individuals that can make or break a game.
Vital Posh predicts a tight game ending in a battling 4-2 defeat.
Martin ATKINSON takes charge of this clash. He is a Premier League referee and has already brandished 50 yellow cards this season! He has also given 3 second yellows, and 3 straight reds.
He will be assisted by Stuart Burt and Richard West.
The fourth official is Lee Mason.
UP THE POSH
Follow me on Twitter: @TommLeaa
Photos/images courtesy of www.theposhpics.com
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