Sunderland’s Johnson relishing FA Cup run

Carlisle United keeper Greg Fleming a fails to stop a Adam Johnson free Kick from going into the net for Sunderlands first goal of the during the FA Cup game at the Stadium of Light. Photograph by FRANK REID
Carlisle United keeper Greg Fleming a fails to stop a Adam Johnson free Kick from going into the net for Sunderlands first goal of the during the FA Cup game at the Stadium of Light. Photograph by FRANK REID

ADAM Johnson says an FA Cup run for Sunderland is to be welcomed rather than feared, as the fixtures continue to pile up for the Black Cats.

Sunderland, who continue to chase cup glory on two fronts while fighting Premier League relegation, will have played an exhausting 16 games in eight weeks by the time they go into the derby against Newcastle United on February 1

But Johnson says that players and fans alike relish cup games and points out clubs can be lifted by good runs in the knockout competitions.

The winger, who won the FA Cup with Manchester City in 2011, says: “You want to go as far as you can in the cups because a good run gets everyone buzzing and as a player you want to be getting to finals in your career.

“We’ve got a chance to get to one in the Capital One Cup this month and now, in the FA Cup, we’ve got through to the fourth round while a few Premier League clubs have already gone out.

“We’ve got the winners of the Kidderminster/Peterborough game in the next round but the tie is at the Stadium of Light and we’ll feel confident we can go through and go even further.

”We have to look forward to these games because I know how special it can be to go all the way in a cup competition - it’s something that stays with you forever.”

Sunderland had to negotiate a potentially very difficult tie against Carlisle United to get to the fourth round and Johnson played a big part in steering his side through.

The 26-year-old scored the opening goal of the game with a finely-taken free-kick, saw a shot deflected home for Sunderland’s second and played a big part in El-Hadji Ba notching the Black Cats’ third.

“Yes, I enjoyed it,” he smiled. “It was good.

“It was a tricky game because it is always hard to beat a side when a lot of time they’re putting 10 men behind the ball.

“When that happens, it often takes a set-piece to make the break-through and thankfully I was able to get it.

“But I thought it was a good team effort and there was a lot of pluses to take out of it - we got a win, we got three goals, the young lads came on and got debuts and Jozy Altidore got an assist.

“It’s pleasing when you’ve got a good result but the main thing with a cup game is always that you’re in the draw for the next round by the end of it and that’s what we’ve managed to do.

“It’s great for the players and it’s great for our fans too.

“Yes, it’s going to be demanding but you’d rather be in it than out of it.”

– CHRIS YOUNG