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FA Cup Preview: Hull City v Sunderland

Sunderland endured Wembley heartbreak last weekend and Hull City boss Steve Bruce is plotting to heap more cup misery on his former club.

Gus Poyet’s side were beaten 3-1 by Manchester City in the League Cup final at the home of English football on Sunday after Fabio Borini had put them in front.

That was Sunderland’s first trip to the new national stadium and they could make a swift return by seeing off Premier League rivals Hull in the FA Cup quarter-final tie at the KC Stadium on Sunday.

Hull have already done the league double over their visitors, with Sunderland having three men sent off over the two games.

And Bruce, a three-time FA Cup winner during his playing days at Manchester United, is determined to make it a hat-trick of victories against the club that sacked him in back in 2011.

Achieving that would see Bruce guide Hull to the last four of the competition for the first time in 84 years.

He said: “We’ve got an opportunity to make it to Wembley for an FA Cup semi-final, a stage of the competition the club hasn’t been in since 1930.

“When you look at it from that perspective, of course Sunday is a big game for us. This is a big game for everybody. I’ve said it repeatedly, but a good cup run can enhance your season and we’ve got to try and get through to the semi-finals.

“When you get to the last eight of any competition, you start to smell the hotdogs (at Wembley) and there’s nothing bigger than when cup finals are at stake.

“As a manager I’ve never been past the quarter-finals of this competition, so a Wembley semi-final would be a first for me.

“As a player, I led a team out and lifted a trophy at Wembley and those are the things that stay with you forever.

“If we beat Sunderland, we’ll be going to Wembley so my players have to grasp the occasion and play well on Sunday. You need a bit of luck in the cup as well and it’s all to play for.

“We’ll be looking to produce a big performance and the crowd can play their part too in helping us get to where we want to be.”

Bruce will be without cup-tied strike duo Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic, while winger Robbie Brady will play no part after being ruled out for the rest of the season due to a groin problem.

Paul McShane (ankle) and Joe Dudgeon (knee) are also unavailable.

Poyet’s Sunderland side will have to tighten up at the back after shipping seven goals in their last two games against City and Arsenal – where they were beaten 4-1 in their last Premier League encounter.

Midfielder Liam Bridcutt is cup-tied having played in the competition for Brighton and Hove Albion, while goalkeeper Keiren Westwood (shoulder) remains sidelined.

Sunderland boast two FA Cup triumphs, the last coming in 1973, while their most recent appearance in a final came in 1992.

Fri 7 March, 2014
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