O'Neill aiming to stay in hat

Black Cats boss out to avoid defeat at Goodison Park

Martin O'Neill: Wants to be in the hat for the FA Cup semi-final draw on Sunday

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Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill's aim for the weekend is to be in the hat for the FA Cup semi-final draw on Sunday evening.

The Black Cats have a tricky-looking cup fixture in Saturday's early kick-off as they take on Everton at Goodison Park.

Winning the cup competition has eluded O'Neill during his illustrious career, although his Aston Villa side made the semi-finals in 2010.

Sunderland will secure a Wembley return if they can win on Merseyside, although O'Neill is refusing to take anything for granted after insisting earlier in the competition that there was no chance of them going all the way.

Response

"If I said that - and maybe I did, who knows what I said then?" responded O'Neill.

"I was probably asked when we were kicking off against Peterborough, or perhaps the game against Middlesbrough, and obviously Wembley is a million miles away.

"Now we have just about as tough a draw as you are likely to pick up, Everton away from home, but it doesn't stop your feelings of, 'Well, there are eight teams left in the competition, that's all'.

"We are going to go for everything, and it won't be for the want of trying."

Sunderland knocked out Arsenal in the last round, but with the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea still in the tournament, O'Neill knows there are plenty of big names to overcome.

"There are some major teams left in it and we would just love to be in the hat whenever the draw is made," he concluded. "If we are in the hat, at least we give ourselves a chance."