Sunderland swept aside their local rivals in a 4-0 demolition derby on Tuesday night. Jack Ross had this to say afterwards: “It’s a job well done. I spoke beforehand about it not being an ideal fixture and there were obviously other factors as well but I couldn’t ask anymore. They carried a lot of pressure on their shoulders and coped with it well. It’s a drive to get the club back to playing these sort of games at the top level. You can see the rivalry and I’ve got a responsibility to get us involved in them again. It would be very easy to say it was like any other game and I had to prepare my players like that, but I understood it was different. It’s not really our first team to an extent so it’s a difficult tournament to describe. Hopefully I won’t be involved in a game like this again, it’s not quite no-win but the consequences of losing, if we did, would have been challenging. But now we’re not far from the final. It would provide - in terms of where the club has been - a huge positive if we did get to Wembley. I think that the league supercedes everything for us. It has always impacted on my selection for these games and I can’t see that changing because we have a busy schedule coming up.”
Ross on Watmore being taken off: “He’s got a slight groin injury which is not unexpected given how long he’s been out. We had a duty to him. We didn’t want to take any risks with him.”
Ross on Benji Kimpioka’s display: We need to loan more of our players out - however with Benji Kimpioka he’s at the younger end of the age scale. Given the impact he’s had and the uncertainty around the fitness of other players he’ll remain at the club.
Chris Maguire also had a few things to say about the result and his celebration. Maguire said: " If you try and give me abuse then I'll have the last laugh - and I did. It was a no-win situation for us, if we won we were expected to win but there was a good crowd turned up and we gave the fans something to cheer about and bragging rights too. It felt like a lot more when we walked out the tunnel, it was a good atmosphere. We know it was their kids, we are not getting carried away, they can put whatever they want on it but they still brought 3,000 fans to cheer them on. At the end of the day we sent our fans away happy and we are into the next round. It is exciting and it builds momentum, another win, another win at home and we are into the next round. There are not that many games left, we want to get there, you can see the team we put out, it is a chance to get to Wembley and win a trophy. Luton is a big clash, they are sitting above us at the moment. I'm sure if we keep playing the way we have done and get the home fans behind us then we can move into second and get a real push on."
In other news, Sunderland’s forthcoming game against Gillingham FC at the Stadium of Light has been postponed due to the Gills’ progression in the Emirates FA Cup. The game was due to take place on Saturday 26 February and a new date will be confirmed in due course. The postponement means that Sunderland will play only one home league game in the month of January, when they take on second placed Luton Town on Saturday 12 January. Tickets for the game are still available and under 16s can cheer on the team in this crucial clash for just £1 in a special ‘Kids for a Quid’ offer. The £1 tickets must be purchased alongside a full-priced adult ticket, which are priced from £20. Standard tickets for under 16s are £7.50.