GUS Poyet has challenged fringe players given their chance in Sunderland’s FA Cup tie against Carlisle tomorrow to grab it with both hands.
The Black Cats’ boss is expected to make a string of changes for the visit of Graham Kavanagh’s Cumbrians, with Sunderland having a Capital One Cup semi-final against Manchester United on Tuesday followed by a relegation six-pointer against Fulham next weekend.
But Poyet says it is essential he gets the right attitude from every Sunderland player who gets an opportunity tomorrow.
He said: “In my view, this is a big chance for the players selected – that’s certainly how I would look at it if I was still playing.
“It’s a big chance, but it depends how the players involved approach it.
“If they think, ‘this is a big opportunity for me to show everyone what I can do, I’m going to go out there and give everything to impress,’ then great.
“That’s what I would do.
“But if they think, ‘oh, it’s an early round of the FA Cup, it’s a League One team, and only now I’m playing’, then we will have a problem.
“It’s like when you talk about players being relaxed before a game – being relaxed can be good if it means you don’t feel the pressure, but it can be bad if it means you allow yourself to be complacent.
“It’s always about a balance.
“Me, I saw every game as an opportunity, and I want every player who plays against Carlisle to be really excited, and out to give their very best display.”
Poyet has admitted he will make changes for the Carlisle game.
However, one player who will not be getting the chance to be involved in the clash will be new signing Marcos Alonso, whose work permit papers are still being processed.
“Unfortunately, Marcos Alonso’s international clearance has not come through in time,” said the Sunderland head coach.
“We were hopeful, but it wasn’t to be.
“Now we have to hope that he will be available for the game against Manchester United on Tuesday.”