Writer: Gary Johnson
Date:Friday January 1 2010
Stadium of Light
Weather permitting in the North East, this should be a true typical 3rd round FA Cup clash at the Stadium of Light this weekend. Steve Bruce is taking the competition very seriously as he is set to name an unchanged team from the 2-2 draw at Ewood Park.
This will allow Bent to continue his hot streak in front of goal as he looks to add to his 13 league goals this season. Barrow will be looking to upset the Premiership outfit and make the most of any opportunity that comes their way.
Barrow will be backed by an amazing 7000 fans from Cumbria and look set to make the atmosphere at the frozen Stadium electric.
Bruce said: 'From the reports I have got on them, they are genuine and honest and love a scrap, so we must make sure we match that.
'If we do match all those things, which I am confident we will do, then our ability should come through.'
'The one person I could leave out is Benty for obvious reasons. However, I won't. He's done fantastically well for me, he's been a breath of fresh air since he came here and he wants to play every week.
'His return is up there with Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba and for us to have someone like that at the club is fantastic. He enjoys being Sunderland's number nine, but we can't just keep relying on him. Some of the other lads need to come to the party as well.
'Of course, if he gets a knock and is missing for eight weeks, I'll be spewing on Monday. If he picks up an injury in the Premier League that's one thing, but it could happen in training or anywhere. It's vital that I put out my biggest and strongest team and with our injury situation I haven't got much option to be honest.
'With nine out either injured or suspended any squad would be stretched to the limit so I'm not really in for any rotation. I've done it before where you leave people out because you're worried about picking up injuries but I'm going to treat the FA Cup with the respect it deserves. I want to get through so I'll play my strongest possible team.'
Sunderland name an unchanged 11 against the non league team. Sunderland are still very light on numbers with Gordon, Turner, Ferdinand, Mensah, Cattermole, Malbranque, Richardson, Jones and Andy Reid all miss this cup clash.
Darren has declared himself available for this 3rd round game and will be hoping to continue his run of three goals in two games.
Bent should be looking to get a few goals this weekend to increase his chances for him being on the plane to South Africa this Summer.
They have a full squad to select from but with Sunderland being 98 places above them in the league standings this will be a very difficult game. However, that is the beauty of the FA Cup...
Still seeking revenge as Steve Bruce released him at Wigan in 2001 he still makes appearances at the age of 42 years old. A record worthy of mentioning.
Barrow are undefeated in seven (W3, D4)
Sunderland have not won in seven (D3, L4 - all Premier League games).
Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire) Assistant referees: Dave Bryan & Dean Mohareb Fourth official: Jock Waugh
Sunderland 4 - 1 Barrow
Sunderland head to Stamford Bridge in the league on 16th Jan 2010.
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Date:Friday January 1 2010
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