April 13, 2024

Sunderland will attempt to put their FA Cup loss to Newcastle United behind them when they go to Ipswich Town in the Championship this weekend.

According to Michael Beale, Sunderland can be ‘as optimistic as anyone’ about securing a play-off spot as the Black Cats prepare to put their derby setback behind them and refocus to their Championship campaign. Sunderland were knocked out of the FA Cup at the Stadium of Light by arch-rivals Newcastle United on the same day they lost the Wear-Tyne derby.

But manager Stuart Beale feels they can’t afford to linger on that setback as they prepare to face promotion-chasing Ipswich Town at Portman Road on Saturday. Sunderland enter the game in sixth place, having moved back into the play-off places with a 2-0 win over Preston North End on New Year’s Day prior to the derby defeat.

“We’ve got to move forward,” Beale added. “With 20 games remaining in the Championship, we don’t have time to dwell [on the derby defeat].”

 

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“Doesn’t it penalize us in the league?” We’re currently in sixth place, which I believe is a really positive position for a club as young as ours.

“It was a horrible feeling for the fans on Saturday, but I hope this team grows and gives the fans many more happy days in the future.” With 20 games remaining, we can be as optimistic as anyone about making the playoffs, and that is my primary focus right now.”

Saturday’s game will be another tough test in front of the television cameras, with Ipswich presently second in the table following an impressive first half of the season. The Tractor Boys were promoted from League One last season, and Kieran McKenna’s team is vying for back-to-back promotions, albeit their momentum has slowed in recent weeks, with the Tractor Boys going five league games without a win.

On the first weekend of the season, Ipswich defeated Sunderland 2-1 at the Stadium of Light, thanks to goals from former Black Cats loanee Nathan Broadhead and George Hirst. Trai Hume was sent off on a second yellow card that day before Sunderland’s Dan Neil pulled one back near the end.

 

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