ADAM Johnson says an FA Cup run for Sunderland is to be welcomed rather than feared, as the fixtures continue to pile up for the Black Cats.
Sunderland, who continue to chase cup glory on two fronts while fighting Premier League relegation, will have played an exhausting 16 games in eight weeks by the time they go into the derby against Newcastle United on February 1
But Johnson says that players and fans alike relish cup games and believes clubs can be lifted by good runs in the knockout competitions.
The winger, whose side saw off Carlisle United 3-1 at the Stadium of Light yesterday, said: “You want to go as far as you can in the cups because a good run gets everyone buzzing and as a player you want to be getting to finals in your career.
“We’ve got a chance to get to one in the Capital One Cup this month and now, in the FA Cup, we’ve got through to the fourth round while a few Premier League clubs have already gone out.
“We’ve got the winners of the Kidderminster-Peterborough game in the next round, but the tie is at the Stadium of Light and we’ll feel confident we can go through and go even further.
”We have to look forward to these games because I know how special it can be to go all the way in a cup competition – it’s something that stays with you forever.”
Sunderland, who take on Manchester United in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg tomorrow, had to negotiate a potentially difficult FA Cup third round clash with Carlisle yesterday to make progress and Johnson played a big part in steering his side through.
The 26-year-old scored the opening goal of the game with a fine free-kick, saw a shot deflected home for Sunderland’s second and played a big part in El-Hadji Ba notching the Black Cats’ third.
“Yes, I enjoyed it. It was good,” said Johnson, who won the FA Cup with Manchester City in 2011.
“It was a tricky game because it is always hard to beat a side when a lot of time they’re putting 10 men behind the ball. When that happens, it often takes a set-piece to make the break-through and thankfully I was able to get it.
“But I thought it was a good team effort and there was a lot of plusses to take out of it – we got a win, we got three goals, the young lads came on and got debuts and Jozy Altidore got an assist.
“It’s pleasing when you’ve got a good result, but the main thing with a cup game is always that you’re in the draw for the next round.
“It’s great for the players and it’s great for our fans too.
“Yes, it’s going to be demanding, but you’d rather be in it than out of it.”