Rocking All Over League 1

Luke O’Nien is super excited about everything, so he’s almost ecstatic about the trip to Wembley. “I lost in the Checkatrade (2017) semi-final a couple of years ago so it’s nice to finally get there but we’re not just going there for enjoyment, we’re going to win it. I’ve only been there (Wembley) as a spectator, I’ve never set foot on the pitch so for me it will be a dream come true to play there. For my family and my friends and for everyone in the area it will be a special occasion. I know a lot of people booked hotels while we were in the semis, maybe even the quarters, so it was big for the area. It will be a sell-out so it will be a good day for the club and our job is to go out onto the pitch and deliver. It’s a big thing to have on your cv. To win promotion last year (from League Two with Wycombe) was a big thing for me and for the club, so to do it again this year would be special. We’ve got the cup final to look forward to, then nine league games left and every one of them is going to be a cup final. We’ve got a chance to be a part of a special season. I know the fans will be there backing us, so it’s very exciting for us. We had a game on the weekend against Walsall and we put Wembley out of our minds for that,” O’Nien added. “Walsall was the main focus but now that’s out of the way it’s the Wembley game. It’s nice to know that we’ve got ten days or so to put our full focus on the Wembley game. Once that’s out of the way we’ll focus on the next game (Accrington Stanley away). For now it’s about making sure we lift that trophy. We’re excited as a club and so are the fanbase. All my family are up so it’s going to be a really special day. It’s not too far from me so I will do my best to get as many tickets as I can to get all my friends and family down there. They’ll be making the trip. We’ve had a lot of games recently so psychologically it might benefit us that we’ve got a little rest (from the league) and we can flip that and say we’ve got an advantage over everyone else in having a little rest and putting the pressure on them to pull away from us. We’ll be looking at the results on the weekend and it (automatic promotion) is very much in our hands if we keep winning games we’ll be in a good position.”

 

In other news, Jon McLaughlin is away with Scotland preparing for their Euro 2020 qualifying fixture in Kazakhstan and is hoping for a start. He said: “Allan (McGregor) and Craig (Gordon) have had it locked down for so long, such fantastic goalkeepers with so much experience of playing at the top level for so long, that it really looked like it was theirs to fight for as long as they wanted to play. The rest of us would just have to bide our time, see what happened and enjoy being involved. For this campaign, there’s only a couple of caps between us. It’s certainly an interesting scenario, you don’t know what will happen going forward but as a goalkeeper all you can do is prepare properly, be there, give everything you can and if you get the honour of wearing that shirt, do everything you can for the team and try and take that opportunity. It’s just unfortunate that in League One you don’t get those international breaks. It means that there has been squads that I’ve had to pull out of for the good of the club. At the end of the day, if you’re going to play more of a supporting role for your country and miss games for your club, Scotland have been very good at saying that at this stage, it’s more important that you can fulfil your duties for your club side. That’s another big incentive to get this club promoted, it will only help your international cause. Playing for a club of this size helps because people see the value of your performances in terms of stepping up to international level.”

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At the back end of the 1980s, football fanzines began to sweep the country and in 1989 we were presented with a new vehicle on which to enjoy some of this ride – A Love Supreme. ALS was a place we could all go to celebrate and commiserate being a Sunderland fan. Win, lose or draw, the pages of the fanzine became solace for many of us as we stumbled our way through our day to day lives, punctuated by the ups and downs of more match days than any of us care to remember.

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