O'Neill not looking too far ahead

08 February 2012 09:16

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill will take nothing for granted as he attempts to guide his side into the FA Cup fifth round at the second attempt.

The Black Cats head into Wednesday night's fourth-round replay at Middlesbrough having earned themselves a replay courtesy of returning hero Fraizer Campbell's equaliser at the end of last month.

Arsenal, who head for the Stadium of Light in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday, await the winners in a home tie the following weekend, although O'Neill will not even contemplate a quickfire return to Wearside for the Gunners until it is secured. He said: "We have a very, very difficult game that can go either way, and I wouldn't even look at Arsenal at all."

O'Neill added: "I would be really surprised if a Sunderland supporter who really knew about the game would take anything for granted now, particularly for the kind of run we have had in recent years.

"I don't think that for a second. That's certainly not my attitude.

"Obviously, we have got Arsenal at the weekend, and that's a different issue all together in terms of the league.

"What I can say is that we will just give everything to try to win the game - but that won't automatically give us victory at all."

Sunderland's run of form since O'Neill's arrival in December has been little short of remarkable, with a return of 22 league points from a possible 30 easing them well clear of the relegation zone.

However, Boro are one of only four sides to deny them victory during that period - Tottenham, Everton and Chelsea are the others - and for that reason, the Ulsterman knows they will have a fight on their hands once again at the Riverside Stadium.

He said: "The only enjoyment we all get, either as players of supporters, would be in the winning of the game. But I am sorry, I cannot guarantee that at all and I think it will be very, very difficult for us."

Source: PA