It would be churlish for Newcastle fans not to wish Sunderland well on Sunday… – The Mag

It would be churlish for Newcastle fans not to wish Sunderland well on Sunday... - The Mag

Why Sunderland have a huge advantage over Portsmouth at Wembley – according to a sports psychology expert

Thats according to respected sports psychologist Graeme Foreman, who believes that the Black Cats will be in a better mental shape to deal with the expectations surrounding the showpiece final.

Foreman, whose previous clients include the FA, England Netball and Sunderland themselves, insists that Jack Ross side will be well-equipped to deal with the big occasion that surrounds the final.

Thats because Sunderlands large home gates – which are almost double that of Pompeys – mean they are used to performing in front of large crowds.

Watch: Bally & Williams cup final preview

So too are a number of the first team squad, with Premier League and international experience meaning they are confident and comfortable when it comes to bumper crowds.

Indeed, six of the current squad have even played at the national stadium in the past – and that could give the Wearsiders a huge advantage over their opponents when they take to the field in front of over 80,000 spectators on Sunday.

Its a big occasion, but everyone in League One has had a big occasion when theyve come to the Stadium of Light and played in front of 30,000 or 40,000 fans, he said, speaking exclusively to the Echo.

Its a squad which is built around a lot of experience in terms of being in front of big crowds and in big games.

You can mention some of the players, in terms of Matthews and McGeady, who have all played at big levels and internationally.

Being able to enjoy the moment is something that Foreman believes could be key come the final, knowing full well just how much stress and anxiety can affect performance levels.

Some anxiety will be natural when the players take to the field ahead of the 2:30pm kick-off on Sunday – but how can Sunderlands squad combat the pressures that may come with a Wembley final?

Sunderland travel to Wembley this weekend for their Checkatrade Trophy Final match against Portsmouth. 

Ahead of the game, safc.com caught up with club legends Kevin Ball and Darren Williams to talk about their memories of playing at Wembley.

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