Sunderland duo Lee Cattermole and Jack Ross determined to lift Checkatrade Trophy against Portsmouth at Wembley
Lee Cattermole and Jack Ross are urging Sunderland to take the chance to be crowned Checkatrade Trophy champions against Pompey on Sunday.
The Black Cats meet their League One promotion rivals at Wembley for the right to lift the trophy in the much-maligned competition.
But Sunderland captain Cattermole and boss Jack Ross view it as great occasion – and a day the club should saviour.
The 31-year-old Black Cats skipper has been on the losing side in two finals across his career.
The midfielder was part of Middlesbrough’s Uefa Cup final defeat at the hands of Sevilla in 2006 and Sunderland’s League Cup loss to Manchester City at Wembley five years ago.
But now he is eager to lift silverware with Sunderland for the first time in his career – insisting they have the quality to do so.
And Cattermole says walking out at Wembley against Pompey – in front of more than 80,000 – is a memory the squad will cherish.
He told the Sunderland Echo: ‘Have a look on Sunday and see if it is a big game or not, that’s all I’d say.
'There will be massive numbers there, great viewing for everyone, an unbelievable atmosphere and it will be tense but I believe we have the quality and maturity to win it.
'It is a big game, we deserve to be there, lets go and finish it off.
'To win at Wembley would be great, it would mean a lot to me and my family, I have a lot of people going down there.
'We are professional sportsmen and competitive and want to win the game, it would mean a hell of a lot.
'It is a special occasion and some people may never do it in their careers.'
Black Cats boss Ross echoed the views of Cattermole.
He’s eager for Sunderland to take the chance to lift a trophy given the lack of opportunities for players at this level.
He told the Sunderland Echo: ‘I respect people’s views on the competition but this is a chance to achieve something, to go down in the history books of the club.
'Nobody can take that away from you and it is not something you should ever turn your nose up at and we have players and staff who have bought into that.
'You can have players who have terrific careers but never win anything.
'It is really hard to win a title and winning any cup competition you need a lot of things to fall your way.
'You don’t get that many chances. I have been quite lucky in management so far, I have had the championship victory [in Scotland] but lost a cup final as well.
'To get to these occasions is enjoyable and you need to enjoy it as you never know what will happen for the rest of your career.’
Check out our Checkatrade Trophy special in SATURDAY's Sports Mail.
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