The foundations of League One trembled when the final whistle went at Turf Moor. Clubs all over England quaked with the knowledge that Sunderland has knocked out mighty Burnley. Talks were held in the EFL coven about whether they should just hand the trophy over to Sunderland now.
Of course, none of that happened. While the win at Burnley was a great feat it is unlikely to bring more than a surprised look to the faces of our league one opposition. Burnley has changed their side drastically indicating a real lack of ambition in terms of taking the competition seriously. Surely that was leveller enough? Well actually when you have Hendrick, Drinkwater, Bardsley, Hart, Lennon, Vydra and Rodriguez in your line up you would definitely be expecting to roll over opposition from two leagues below you.
None of this really matters though. A cup run, whilst nice to have, is a distraction from the main goal. Presumably that fed into the thinking behind the sweeping changes Jack Ross made to his line up against Burnley. Even the most ambitious Sunderland fan would admit that lifting the League Cup is as likely as Newcastle doing it this season. Yet we won against strong opposition with a second string on the pitch. This is significant in more ways than one. Firstly, there is no undeniable confidence going into the Peterborough game and that is vital.
Peterborough have, in recent weeks, been good. Their performance against MK Dons was impressive and, by all accounts they are coming together as a team with the potential to cause real danger against unsteady defences. Our defence is yet to keep a clean sheet in all competitions. I see Peterborough as one of our main promotion rivals and we will need a dogged performance to come away with a result.
The second significance of the Burnley result was the fact that there were so many changes. The understudies put in a shift and walked away from a premiership club with a win. This sends a message out to the regulars that their places are under threat. We have players capable of coming in and doing their job to a high standard. When George Dobson hailed the supporters and the “size of the club” and said he gave everything when he stepped on to the pitch as a result is indicative of the type of mood we should be encouraging at Sunderland. There is evidence this is happening. The competition for places will add to that.
Once again, we have players who feel their shirt is a privilege and rightly so. The Burnley result showed that there are others who appreciate that privilege if you don’t. We go into Peterborough with that mentality and confidence to boot. Haway the Lads.