Mansfield Town midfielder George Lapslie hopes the Stags can disrupt Sunderland by ‘getting in their faces’ when the two teams meet in the FA Cup first round on Saturday.
The 24-year-old is eligible for the fixture after missing Saturday’s impressive 2-0 home victory against Tranmere due to suspension.
Lapslie was the match-winner when the Stags beat the Black Cats 1-0 at The Stadium of Light during the same stage of last year’s competition.
Speaking to iFollow Stags, he said: “It [the game against Sunderland last season] was a great team performance from the boys. We managed to keep a clean sheet and got the win.
“I got the goal but it was good team build-up to get to that point. The ball from Kellan [Gordon] almost made the header [easier] because he whipped it in with quite a lot of pace. I just had to direct [the effort] goal-bound.
The former Charlton man wants a repeat of last year’s display as Stags again look to cause an upset against the high-flying League One side.
“Getting in their [Sunderland’s] faces is the last thing they want. Once we stop them playing, we can start focussing on how we can affect the game.
“We’ve got players that will be able to control the game.”
When asked if there is less pressure on the Stags due to the gulf in league positions, he said: “We’re not going there [to The Stadium of Light] as a free-hit. We’re going there for a result, and we’ll see how it pans out.”
Lapslie was a spectator for Mansfield’s last outing. The midfielder watched from the stands due to accumulating five bookings which resulted in a one-match ban. He was, however, pleased with the performance he saw from the Stags.
“I thought it was an unbelievable performance from the boys [last Saturday]. Everyone put a shift in and we thoroughly deserved it [the win]. It was a joy to watch to be honest.
“The boys were all over them [Tranmere] in every aspect, in my opinion. Hopefully we can kick on now.”
Lapslie was encouraged to hear of a large number of the Stags’ faithful expected to be in attendance this weekend,
“That doesn’t surprise me [that over 1000 away tickets have been sold for the game]. They [the Stags’ fans] have backed us well in the away days so far so as players we are grateful.
“We want to get a win for the fans. They’re going to travel in their numbers so they deserve us to put in a good performance and get a good result on Saturday.
“[In recent weeks] I’ve been surprised at how well they’ve backed us. They’ve been right with us. It would be easy as a fan to turn [on the team] with us going as long as we did without a win but as players we are thankful and hopefully we will put it right.”
To watch the midfielder's full interview login to iFollow Stags
To purchase tickets for Saturday's game visit: stagstickets.co.uk