THIS season marks the 50th anniversary of Sunderland’s unforgettable Wembley win over Leeds United, and some of Jimmy Montgomery’s FA Cup magic appears to be rubbing off on Anthony Patterson with the Black Cats’ current shot-stopper having performed his own heroics at Craven Cottage.

Patterson made a string of excellent saves as Sunderland held Premier League Fulham to a 1-1 draw that set up an enticing fourth-round replay at the Stadium of Light next week.

The 22-year-old has been in superb form all season, and has been spending time with Montgomery at the Black Cats’ Academy of Light training ground.

The Sunderland legend was one of the stars of the 1973 FA Cup success, with his double-save from Trevor Cherry and Peter Lorimer etched in Wembley folklore, and Patterson is delighted to be following in his footsteps in the first team.

“I’ve met him (Montgomery) a few times,” said the North Shields-born shot-stopper. “Jim often comes in, and I often speak to Jim quite a bit, and he always gives me advice.

“The one thing he always says is, ‘Are you enjoying it still?’, and I respond with, ‘Yes’,obviously. He just says to keep enjoying it, and that’s his advice to me.”

This time last year, Patterson was just beginning to establish himself in Sunderland’s starting side under Alex Neil after a loan spell at National League side Notts County was prematurely curtailed.

A lot has happened since then, with the youngster cementing his position as the Black Cats’ number one, starring in a play-off final win at Wembley and impressing in the Championship, and he admits he sometimes has to pinch himself at just how far he has come in the space of 12 months.

“It’s been a pretty mad year thinking about it,” said Patterson. “I’ve gone from the beginning of 2022, playing for Notts County, to coming back, winning promotion with Sunderland, coming back in the summer and getting the number one shirt. We’ve started the season brilliantly, and we just need to push on now.”

Sunderland return to league action with a trip to Millwall this weekend, before hosting Fulham in a replay that offers the prospect of a place in the fifth round.

“Our fans will get right behind us, and we’ll give them another realty good game and get after them, like we did (at Craven Cottage),” said Patterson. “Anything can happen when we have our fans behind us.”