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Fan Focus: Blue & Amber Fanzine Talk SAFC v Shrewsbury Town

Sunderland haven't played Shrewsbury Town since the late 80's, so we thought we better get one of their fans to give us a bit of crack on what's going on at The New Meadow. Rory spoke to Glyn of Blue & Amber Fanzine to find out more about our League One opponents.

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It's almost thirty years since both sides last met, so I suppose both sets of fans can be forgiven for not being aware of the goings on at either club. Give us a brief run down about what's being going on at Shrewsbury over the last few years.

Well, we're best off going back only as far as 2007 when Shrewsbury Town finally left our beloved but ageing ground The Gay Meadow to a new out of town 10,000 seater stadium, which wiped our debts and put millions in the bank thanks to a good land deal.

From there the club have moved on from perennial League Two relegation candidates to a club that are now looking to finally establish in League One having been in here for four of the last five seasons. Off the field we remain debt free, a source of massive pride at this level, and have good academy that's started to see big players come through. In recent years, Joe Hart, Andre Gray, Dave Edwards, Connor Goldson and Ryan Woods are a few who have gone on to do really well.

Last ten years have been exciting in the main with promotions and amazing cup run as well as playing at a higher level.

Micky Mellon did a good job at Fleetwood and looks a promising gaffer. Are you confident that he can establish you in League One and have you pushing for The Championship?

He's done all you could ask thus far with a promotion and keeping us up (just) last year. Mellon is a real football man - he works bloody hard and clearly loves the club. This year is make or break though. He has to show he can build at least a good mid-table side. No one expects a promotion this year, but a lot of goodwill was lost last year with the worst home record in the clubs history. I hope he can pull it off, he's a likable guy and the early signs this season have been encouraging.

Its been an okay start to the season for Shrewsbury, picking up four points from four games. What's the fans hopes for the season as a whole?

Mid table, no relegation worries in the last five games and some more cup excitement. In the League Cup a good win over Doncaster ticked one of the boxes and gives us a fun tie with yourselves. With the squad assembled we should do better than last year. To fail to do so would be terminal for Micky.

David Moyes used to play for Shrewsbury, of course - any fond memories of our gaffer? Is he remembered well from his time there?

It's just a little before my time being only 36 but it's common knowledge that he is an Shrewsbury Town legend for fans of that era and is very fondly remembered.

Strangely enough it's not the first time he's managed a Premier League side against us. Jan 4th 2003, Shrewsbury town beat Everton 2-1 and it was one of the top ten all time FA Cup shocks. We got relegated to the Conference that year and lost pretty much every game! They came 4th in Premier League! Two goals for Nigel Jemson capped my best every moment being a Shrewsbury Town fan. Look it up on YouTube, I do! Regularly!

A lot of Premier League clubs are now starting to look at League One to poach young talent. Is there any promising youngsters coming through the ranks at The New Meadow?

We got raided last year and four lads moved on for a decent wedge. Harry Lewis (GK) to Southampton, Connor Goldson (CB) to Brighton, Ryan Woods (CM) to Brentford and Josh Ginelley (winger) to Burnley. Goldson is the stand out - he will be in the Premier League soon and don't be shocked to see a top flight club swoop in with good money for him in the next two weeks. He is class.

What's left is the next generation ready to be pilfered. We have two England youth keepers in Callum Burton and Shaun Rowley who continue the production line of keepers from Shropshire. We have a young forward getting games this season in Ethan Jones who a couple of years off being ready for a step up and finally a Welsh youth defender Dom Smith, who also needs some seasoning. All in though that a long list of youth prospects who will cut the mustard for a small club. We like to think we are becoming the new Crewe.

Following on from that, who has the potential to cause us the most problems?

Well it's early and we have had a massive rebuild over he summer leaving us with only three starters in our team from last year. We have a lad on loan from your next door neighbours, Ivan Toney, who's starting to show some class and will probably be up for the game more than most.

We also have a lad on loan from Stoke (El Quariachi) who's an ex-Barcelona player who turned town a contract extension with them to sign for Stoke! He must have been nuts but actually in the first two games he's been class for us and could be a big thorn in your side.

How are the Shrews fans on the road? Will you be bring many up for your first visit to the Stadium of Light?

Let's be honest, this is a nightmare trip for us on a weeknight, though not as bad as the trip we need to take to play Middlesbrough B team on a Tuesday night in the EFL Trophy.

That said, it's the first time to visit the Stadium of Light for a lot of us, so expect up to Four-hundred who will get behind the team.

I would point out that our record against higher opposition in the last few years in this cup is great having beaten a string of bigger teams such as Norwich, Huddersfield, Cardiff, Blackburn and Leicester. Some of these results have been away and as such the fear of a trip like this is less, as we know our boys will turn up and give it a go. It's really pleasing for us fans to feel the club giving everything.

We might not bring the most fans you see in the away end all season, but you will go some way to see many more committed fans in there. Our hardcore away fan base is epic. They will sing there hearts out win, lose or draw.

How do you see the game going?

Despite the good record in recent years that we have against higher opposition, when we play Premier League teams we normally come unstuck, having pushed Chelsea close (2-1) and flopped against Manchester United (3-0) so expect a Sunderland win, but a close encounter. We tend to nab a goal, so 2-1 or 3-1 might be a good shout.

If anything it should be a game where some decent football is played. Micky Mellon prides himself on that and we won't hoof it, we play from the back.

Thanks to Glyn for his time. You can check out more from Blue & Amber on Twitter. If you want to hear their post match views, check out Glyn's podcast Salopcast on iTunes & Soundcloud.

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