Sunderland manager Steve Bruce targets FA Cup glory ahead of Barrow clash

31 December 2009 01:20
Bruce helped United win the FA Cup three times and he believes his Sunderland team have what it takes to win this season's Wembley showpiece as the 1973 Cup winners begin their quest for one of football's most famous trophies.

The Sunderland manager spelled out his FA Cup ambitions as he looked ahead to non-league Barrow's visit to the Stadium of Light in the third round of the competition on Saturday.

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"That was one of the highlights of my career. Unfortunately for whatever reason it seems to have been devalued over the last few years.

"But when you look at it they are bringing something like 8,000 people with them. They have sold out their allocation which must mean the whole population of the town is coming here and that is what the FA Cup is all about.

"Since I walked through the door here our best chance of doing anything here is in a cup competition. We know we are capable of wining five or six games which is what you have to do to win a cup. So we are capable and if we keep getting the draws you hope for and stay at home then we have a chance."

Bruce, 49 today, is taking nothing for granted against a club who gave Middlesbrough a run for their money last season.

"We have all been involved as a player or manager in a horrible one where an upset can happen and that is what we must guard against," Bruce added.

"We have seen it with the biggest clubs such as Manchester United losing at Bournemouth after being holders of the Cup. That is the magic of the competition. It is a horrible time to play these games but thankfully we have a home draw. We couldn't have asked for anything better.

"They are coming here hoping their team can turn us over, let's be honest about it they will be trying like beasts to do that, we must make sure we treat them with the hugest respect and match their work-rate, effort and endeavour. The reports I have got on them show they are genuine and honest and love a scrap. If we match all those things which I am confident we will then I am sure our ability will come through."

"We have a home draw against a non-league outfit and we could not be happier than with that. But we must make sure we prepare properly.

"There have been a few shocks and they can still happen. Look at Cardiff and Millwall a few years ago so it is possible for a so-called smaller club to go all the way. If the draw is kind it can happen and the big boys knock each other out.

"Their fans will not rule out a win - that is the magic of the FA Cup. In this particular climate financially to have a quarter of the town coming here will be tremendous and they will make some noise from what I hear."

Bruce's squad has been depleted by injuries and suspensions but he is still determined to leave nothing to chance.

"With nine injuries and a suspension I think any squad would be down to the limit so I am not really in for this rotation," Bruce continued.

"I have done it before where you leave people, our because you are worried about picking up any more injuries. But I am going to treat the FA Cup with the respect it deserves and I want to get through. So I will be playing my strongest possible squad.

"If everyone had been fit from the other day, which they aren't, then I would have stuck with the same team. I was delighted with the performance at Blackburn considering the problems we have had, everyone rolled their sleeves up and had a right good crack at it. A lot had been champing at the bit. They have all had to be patient.

"It has been a particularly tough time for the last months with not being settled at all. That has hindered us. The experience with it is that they will put up a hell of a fight and that is because of the magic of the FA Cup. It's what makes it so intriguing."

Source: Telegraph