Poyet tells players they can all play into Sunderland League Cup line-up

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet told his players they can still play themselves into his starting line-up for the League Cup final.

Manager Gus Poyet has told  Adam Johnson, left, and the rest of the  Sunderland team that they can all play their way into his line-up for the League Cup final. Michael Regan / Getty Images
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Sunderland manager Gus Poyet told his players they can still play themselves into his starting line-up for the League Cup final.

The side head for Arsenal on Saturday, eight days before they meet Manchester City at Wembley, with the season’s first major trophy at stake. Starting spots are very much up for grabs, he said.

“No doubt, no doubt,” he said. “Managers will always have seven or eight we will pick if they are fit, which leaves three or four which are always available for people depending on what they do or how they feel. I hope nothing happens next week, so I can make the decisions based on performance and what we need.”

Hull City Manager Steve Bruce believes their season could hit new highs in the next three days.

Hull can give their Premier League survival hopes a major boost when they visit second-from-bottom Cardiff City today, before hosting Brighton in Monday night’s FA Cup replay.

Bruce does not love the idea of playing twice in 48 hours, but two victories would leave his side with plenty to look forward to.

League safety is the priority, and would move one step closer to reality with success in South Wales, while a home quarter-final draw against Sunderland awaits the winners of the cup clash.

“Can we get to 30 points and be in a cup quarter-final by Monday? It’s all to play for and it would be a terrific boost for us all,” he said.

“It’s a big game every week for us, from the day we started at Chelsea to our first home game. They’re all big games and Cardiff is another one.

“We’re not exactly steeped in tradition of going to FA Cup finals or semi-finals, so it would be terrific for everyone concerned.

“Why can’t we mount a challenge on two fronts?”

Sam Allardyce said West Ham’s owners will only know whether they were right not to sack him at the end of the season.

Management have stuck with Allardyce and have been rewarded with 10 points from the last four games, lifting the team from the bottom three and into 11th place. The owners’ patience will only be vindicated by where they finish. “We’ll only know that at the end of the season, when we have achieved what we want to achieve and that is to finish as high up the table as we can,” he said.

“We are not out of the woods yet but we have made great strides, all of us, including the co-chairmen and vice-chairman Karren Brady for getting some new players in January.

“Everyone has played a part to alleviate the situation we were in and it’s my job to make sure that pays off. At the moment it’s going well but Southampton are back in good form again so it will be a difficult game.

“But hopefully with the form we are in we will be big enough and strong enough to conquer them.”

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