RR: How’s things been at Portman Road? You seem to have started quite well.
BM: Yeah! It’s been pretty positive - it got quite toxic towards the end of last season, which basically lead to quite a lot of the fans cancelling their season tickets. To get five wins out of the first eight is brilliant. I don’t think anyone expected that, truth be told it is beyond everyone's expectations - however the doubters still remain.
RR: You’ve only lost once at home so far this season, and it seems to have been the catalyst for your positive start. What has Mick Mac changed?
BM: Amazing what a few new faces do to freshen things up isn’t it? Joe Garner who we signed from Rangers, is a complete nuisance up front, Tom Adeyemi is big, physical and powerful in our midfield. We’ve got young Dominick Iorfa on loan from Wolves; he’s pacey at full back. You’ll know about Martyn Waghorn I suppose too - he is direct and powerful; whereas Emyr Huws was a buy from Cardiff, and he hasn't even played yet!
RR: We were apparently very close to bringing Martyn Waghorn back to the club before he signed for your lot. Most of our fanbase groaned at the idea of it, but he seemed to be scoring at will a few weeks ago. How’s he been since?
BM: Waghorn has been a strange one - he basically scored four goals in his first two and a half games. He’s seen as a striker, but he actually scored both those goals from right midfield during an injury crisis - so that’s a bit of an odd one. But he looks a good finisher. Unfortunately for him David McGoldrick and Joe Garner have made a nice partnership upfront so far this year, so I doubt you’ll see him starting tonight.
RR: I’ll admit, my memories of Ipswich have always been awful ones. From childhood some of my worst Sunderland supporting memories have been at Ipswich. Losing 2-0 on a Tuesday night in 1998 to effectively cost us automatic promotion, the New Year’s Day 5-0 loss etc. What are you memories of us?
BB: I'm a similar vintage to you really, so I really remember the Quinn and Phillips team and those games you’ve mentioned. That season you just missed out in the play-off final and then won the league by miles the next season. I think it was over 100 points and a record at the time. I also remember how the mythical Stadium of Light was impossibly difficult to win at for us! It was an intimidating atmosphere the first few times we went there. I remember going when you beat us 2-1 when Matty Holland scored - it was a cauldron of noise.
RR: So you sit in 7th place. What are you hopes and expectations with a quarter of the season gone?
BB: If we finish seventh it will be a pretty miraculous shift from last season’s sixteenth, I suppose! I think if you promised most Ipswich fans between eighth place and eleventh now they'd be pretty happy to take it in all honesty.
RR: Is there anyone in particular worrying you in the Sunderland side, going into the game? Any weaknesses to exploit?
BB: Jonny Williams of course - it would be peak Ipswich! We couldn’t get him fit last last season. It would be Ipswich all over if he did us in with first chance he gets.
RR: Who should we keep an eye on? Who’s been your star player this season so far?
BB: The myth that is our main striker David McGoldrick. Honestly, throughout his entire career he's been referred to as good enough to make the step to the Premier League, but never managed to put an entire season together due to a really poor injury record. If he keeps himself fit, then it, fingers crossed, could be his best ever.
RR: Finally, what’s your score prediction?
BB: Us to win it by a goal... hopefully!
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