Sunderland’s relationship with the Carabao Cup is hardly the blockbuster romantic tale from Hollywood.
Nonetheless, the Black Cats have built up quite the reputation with the competition after reaching the final in 2014.
There was no fairy-tale ending for red and white supporters then, but the memorable run to Wembley Stadium still lives long in the memory of Sunderland fans.
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Sunderland fans need no reminder of the turmoil in recent season and last season’s disappointment in the play-offs, but the current run in the Carabao Cup has reiterated that the current crop of players can cut it at a higher level.
Lee Johnson’s side have dumped out Blackpool and Queen’s Park Rangers from the Championship, and while nobody is expecting a result against Mikel Arteta’s side, 5,000 supporters will head to North London.
The Black Cats have sold out their allocation for the quarter-final and there’s a glimmer of hope they could still cause an upset.
Johnson himself has built up quite the reputation for springing an upset in the competition. His Bristol City side dumped Manchester United out of the competition on their route to the semi-final.
There’ll be plenty of time at the end of the season to discuss whether the competition has been a distraction away from Sunderland’s league form, having been thrashed by Rotherham United 5-1 in the aftermath of the last round.
Truth be told, fans need not look upon the competition as a negative.
The Carabao Cup will be a welcome boost for the coffers and any respectable result at the Emirates will give the young Sunderland side confidence.
The tie promises to be an enthralling spectacle.