SWANSEA, WALES - MARCH 24: Nikica Jelavic of Everton celebrates scoring the second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Everton at the Liberty Stadium on March 24, 2012 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
With our replay against Sunderland in the F.A. Cup quarterfinals taking place tomorrow, I sat down once again with the fantastic SB Nation site covering all the things Sunderland, The Roker Report. They were kind enough to answer a few of my questions about Sunderland for the upcoming match. I also answered a few questions for them and you can head on over to check them out, and their answers to our questions are after the jump.
RBM: It certainly seemed like Everton had the upper hand in the match, what did you feel were some of Sunderland's problems during the match?
RR: I don't think we particularly did anything wrong, it's more just Everton stepped up a bit. When Everton did, rather than fight fire with fire we soaked it up and I thought we did very well at that, a draw was seen by everyone as a good result before kick-off and it looked like if we ventured too far forwards at time we'd have got beat, so take the draw and do it all again at home.
RBM: You are getting two players back who were unavailable in the first match, how much of an impact do you think they will have on this match?
RR: Sessegnon will be huge. He came back against QPR at the weekend, and didn't look like he'd missed a beat during three weeks off. The same Sess we've come to know and love is back. Cattermole is a more interesting one. He's the captain, so you'd think he's going to come in, but Colback & Vaughan have done little wrong. Both are big players for us though. I think I said it last time, but their probably our top two players since O'Neill came in, so understandably they're going to be big.
RBM: Who is going to have to step up for Sunderland if they want to advance to the semifinals?
RR: Well Seb Larsson and Phil Bardsley were both absent from the game against QPR, and while Bardsley does seem to have taken some knocks in recent weeks, Larsson's absence was more mysterious and call me cynical, but I think it was rather a loss of form rather than a genuine illness. I think he owes us a performance. Cattermole has obviously been out, and if he returns to the starting lineup as expected, he'll need to show that he deserves the spot and the decision justified as Colback and Vaughan have been great while he's been out.
RBM: With this being a midweek evening game, do you think the atmosphere will be affected at the Stadium of Light, and how important will the atmosphere be for the team?
RR: I think if anything it will increase it. Everyone has been excited for this game ever since the first game, and the QPR game perhaps only an inconvenience. Luckily that turned into a fairly routine win. For this game though, with Everton bringing a hefty support, and looking at the sales there's already over 40,000 sold, so this game should be quite an atmosphere. That atmosphere will be crucial too I think. We all saw/heard it down at Everton, so times that by eight, and the Stadium of Light should be rocking. This is the biggest game in quite some time for us.
RBM: What should Everton fans be looking for that will show Sunderland has come ready to win this match?
RR: Well they're going to see, and be part of an electric atmosphere, and I think we'll be pressuring Everton right from the off. There was a moment against QPR which lead to the third goal where the crowd came into full voice, and it lifted the players who suddenly despite being two up, started to hassle and pressure their defenders. Look for Sessegnon, Bendtner, Cattermole and McClean to not be giving your backline a moment's peace.
RBM: Finally, what is your prediction for the match and what is the score going to be?
RR: I'm confident we'll win, but with our two sides almost inseparable so far this season, I think it will be close. 1-0 to us, with a late goal from a set piece.
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