O’Neill sweating on key Sunderland duo for FA Cup replay

DOUBTFUL ... Sunderland defender John O'Shea could miss the Bolton replay.
DOUBTFUL ... Sunderland defender John O'Shea could miss the Bolton replay.

MARTIN O’Neill admits he might be forced to change a winning team for tonight’s FA Cup game against Bolton Wanderers.

The Black Cats boss was thrilled with the way a makeshift side swept away West Ham 3-0 at the weekend.

But his chances of fielding the same 11 tonight looks as though it could be hampered by injuries from the victory.

“We’ve got a few knocks from Saturday which are giving us food for thought,” he said.

“Titus Bramble and John O’Shea have both got niggles, so that’s obviously a concern for us in the centre of defence.

“And on top of that, we’ve got David Vaughan complaining of tightness in his hamstrings – and he’s never one to complain.

“So we are going to have to monitor those ahead of the game.”

Sunderland go into tonight’s third round tie against the Trotters knowing that a challenging game against Everton at the Stadium of Light awaits in the next round if the Wearsiders get through.

But O’Neill says for the moment he is just concentrating on tonight’s game – and promises that he is taking the competition very seriously.

“We want to stay in it the cup,” he said. “And I’ll be putting out a strong team in the hope that we do.

“I won’t be looking to rest anyone for resting’s sake.

“If, for example, David Vaughan looks as though he could be fit to play, then he’ll play – no doubt about that.

“It’s a big game for us and we want to progress.

“We’re not in the position of some of the biggest clubs who have big squads and look to prioritise one competition over another.

“We want to do well in the league, which we did at the weekend. Tonight, we want to do well in the cup.”

O’Neill added: “There’ll be no complacency from us, although we’re going into the game determined to be in the hat.

“I expect Bolton to be difficult opponents tonight, just as they were at the Reebok.

“I said before that game that they were more than capable of posing us problems and that’s the way it proved on the day – we had to come back from a 2-0 deficit just to survive and get to this replay.

“I watched Bolton play Leeds before our cup tie and was impressed with how they played.”