RF: Your form from the start of the season hasn’t really wavered too much and you sit in sixth, only six points off automatic promotion. Surely you must be quietly confident of promotion now?
MA: Quietly confident of the play-offs I’d say. We have had a dip in performances lately, so it is encouraging we are still sixth.
Our form will surely improve with major players returning from injury and three excellent players arriving in the January window.
RF: You beat Manchester United and pushed Manchester City in the League Cup, making things far from comfortable for them. Is that giving fans and players alike the confidence that, not only can you go up, but you can potentially compete as well?
MA: Yes, I expected a good performance against United but thought City would be too much of an ask. However, the team showed how good it is already and the omens for the future are very good.
By common consent, our team is on a par with the one which last reached the Championship play-off final in 2008.
RF: I have to be honest here, I’m pretty annoyed that you lost to our relegation rivals Bolton last week! On the other hand though, it gives me a grain of hope that we can pick up a result as well. Did Bolton do anything in particular to make things hard for you that Sunderland could look to replicate?
MA: There is a big difference between playing at home and away and our head coach was disappointed that Bolton wanted it more. They were at home and fighting for their lives.
We have still to emerge fully from our dip in form, which many connect with the extended Carabao Cup run against Premier League clubs.
RF: There’s some good attacking talent in your side but who’s in particularly good form at the minute? Who’s the one player us Sunderland fans should be worried about?
MA: Our big man up front, Famara Diedhiou, is back though he needs games. The new boy up front with lightning speed, Lois Diony, will have had a full week to bed in to the team though.
Ryan Kent, a speedy and skilful winger on loan from Liverpool looks very good in his first outings. Your one bit of joy is that hard man Nathan Baker is suspended.
RF: And even though it’s getting to the point where I feel daft asking this these days - is there anyone in our squad you’re fearful of?
MA: Last time I said ‘Aiden McGeady - a good player with obvious resilience having spent three years in Russia’ and a short time ago I would have added Lewis Grabban.
Now much depends on your three deadline-day signings. With midfielder Ovie Ejaria and striker Ashley Fletcher you are going for young, hungry players, which is also City’s policy.
RF: How do you expect Lee Johnson to approach this game and what do you think his starting line up will be?
MA: Lee Johnson always has a positive game plan. He will look at the squad in training and pick the side accordingly. The major difference this season is the depth of the squad and he can afford to rest some players. I will go for: Steele; Smith, Flint, Wright, Bryan; Paterson, Brownhill, Pack, Kent; Diedhiou, Diony with Reid coming on if necessary, otherwise rested.
RF: To finish things off, can we have a score prediction please?
MA: I think we will win if we play like we can and it could be by a good margin - such as 3-0.
Thanks to Mike for his time - you can check out the Bristol City Supporters Trust on their website.