Jack Colback will be visiting Wembley for the first time tomorrow, but he expects to find a pitch perfectly suited to Sunderland when he gets there.
The Black Cats midfielder has never been to the famous ground, even as a fan.
But against Manchester City tomorrow he thinks it will play to the strengths of the style of football Gustavo Poyet has introduced since arriving as coach in October.
“The manager wants to play a passing and moving game and that’s great for us,” says Colback, reintroduced to his favourite central midfield position by the Uruguayan.
“We played them (City) at home and dominated them for periods, especially in the first half. We were passing the ball really well and they couldn’t really get the ball off us so there’s no reason why we can’t do the same again. It’s a huge pitch and we just need to have the confidence to do it.”
Colback played alongside Jordan Henderson in midfield that day. Henderson has gone on to play for Liverpool and England, but this weekend it is his Sunderland-supporting friend who will be the jealous one.
“He is, yes,” says Colback. “He’ll be hoping we get a win and I’m glad he’s doing really well.
“I’ve spoken to him a few times recently. It’s great to see a lad who came through with us doing so well.”
It is five years since Colback last played in a cup final.
“It was the Premier League Reserve League final,” he recalls. “We won our section of the league and played the national final against Aston Villa. It was a one-off game at Villa Park and we lost so it wasn’t a great omen. It was a great experience but this is a different kettle of fish.”
He cannot even remember his first time.
“With Cramlington Boys Club was my first ever cup final, I suppose,” he says. “One I can remember is a tournament in Blackpool as a junior. We were the favourites and we managed to win the tournament 2-1 in the final.
“It was great to win a cup with all your mates, brilliant. I was either eight or nine and I came to Sunderland when I was about 10.”