Ignacio Scocco set to play for Sunderland despite rethink

Sunderland's midweek postponement has caused a rethink of Gustavo Poyet's plans after all - but Ignacio Scocco is still part of them

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images Ignacio Scocco of AEK Athens in action
Ignacio Scocco is set to feature for SUnderland

Sunderland’s plans for today’s FA Cup tie have changed with this week’s high winds in Manchester – but they still involve Ignacio Scocco.

Immediately after Wednesday’s Premier League match at Eastlands was postponed because of treacherous conditions at the ground and on the roads to it, Sunderland coach Gustavo Poyet told The Journal his plans for today were unchanged.

However, he has since reconsidered his team for the fifth round tie at home to Southampton.

Some who would have been rested will now play, but fringe players Scocco and Emanuele Giaccherini have been guaranteed games.

Poyet said: “Because of the situation we are in in the league, and the game on Wednesday being postponed, the team we were going to play today was going to be totally different, I can tell you.

“It was a great opportunity to use players to get them ready for the end of the season in a very special way while trying to win the game.

“Because we didn’t play on Wednesday there are things I need to see so it’s not going to be exactly the same, but there will be players we need to use, like Giaccherini and Nacho Scocco.”

With Wes Brown suspended, Santiago Vergini was already guaranteed much-needed game time, while goalkeeper Oscar Ustari may still deputise for Keiren Westwood.

Ondrejs Celustka and Lee Cattermole will also hope to be involved.

Argentinian Scocco has not played a competitive game since November 10 because he joined during the Brazilian off-season. The striker has been an unused substitute for both Sunderland matches since.

With Steven Fletcher and Jozy Altidore looking bereft in front of goal, Poyet could do with a match-fit Scocco available to him when his side take on Manchester City in the League Cup final a fortnight tomorrow.

The coach added: “It’s difficult, but we’ll try. He’s not 100%, that’s for sure, but he’ll play today because we need him to as a way of getting fit.

“It’s the type of game he was always going to play in.”

Contrary to earlier reports, perhaps as a result of the rethink, central defender Carlos Cuellar will not feature. He has not played since November 2.

Poyet said: “Carlos we are giving an extra week.”

The replay date is unclear, much to Poyet’s annoyance, though most likely is quarter-final weekend.


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