Gus Poyet has warned his fringe men they will not be brought in from the cold for tomorrow’s FA Cup encounter with Carlisle unless they show the right attitude.
The Sunderland boss is ready to change things for the third round meeting with Graham Kavanagh’s League One outfit and may include Cabral for his first appearance since the Capital One Cup defeat of Peterborough – but only if he senses that the player’s mind is right. That is the message that goes to the rest of the squad, with Poyet warning them they should not see an FA Cup run out as “punishment”.
He said: “It could be a chance for him. We’ve got a couple of options for Sunday, a couple of different set ups. Everything will be decided on Saturday.
“It’s up to the players to understand it’s an opportunity, not a punishment to play against Carlisle. If they understand that, they’ll get a chance. If they think ‘Oh, it’s the FA Cup and against a League One team Carlisle’ they won’t play. We’ll see after training what the mentality is of the players and what their attitude is and then we’ll select the team.” Cabral’s lack of game time has been one of the more mysterious tales of this red and white season, with the summer recruit impressing on the opening day against Fulham only to fall completely out of favour with Paolo Di Canio, who suggested he was not up to the cut and thrust of the Premier League.
He was overlooked by Kevin Ball (pictured left) and is yet to feature for Poyet too, although the Sunderland boss said it is not necessarily the midfielder’s fault.
“It’s nothing Cabral has done wrong. He has trained well in some weeks and got close and then there’s been other weeks when other players deserved to play,” he said.
“It’s nothing particular, nothing personal. It’s just decisions I make. I don’t think he’s responsible for not playing too much – if anyone is responsible it’s me.”