Realistic or deeply disappointing? Does it mean Ricky Sbragia actually wants us to be kicked out tonight, even though the draw for the fifth round – Coventry at home – gives us a massive chance of reaching the quarter finals? Does it matter if that’s the case?
Are we so much under threat of relegation that Stoke at home is our cup final? And perhaps worst of all, is Ricky talking down the cup and talking up the Stoke game in such a way that we lose tonight because we don’t care, and fail on Saturday because the pressure on the players will be overwhelming?
This is what Ricky told BBC Radio Newcastle about tonight’s replay at Blackburn:
“In general, I’m going to play a lot of the squad players and I might hand a couple of debuts to the younger players because we’ve got a massive game against Stoke on Saturday,” he said.
“I don’t know what Sam [Allardyce] is going to do but in my point of view I’ll be going down to Blackburn with a weakened team.”
What does Salut! Sunderland think? The Arabian part of it is in no doubt that staying up is our priority, but is dismayed that we find ourselves in such jeopardy, after all that has been spent (and said), that a cup run is seen as a nuisance or worse.