RF: I must admit, I was relying on Bolton being worse than us to potentially keep us afloat but that isn’t exactly going to plan. Do you think you will beat the drop?
ES: If you would have asked me a month ago, I would have said definitely. Now that Gary Madine’s left, it’s still possible, but it’s harder. Madine was the focal point of the side, and was far and away our top goalscorer.
The home form has been solid, but the away form has been fairly terrible. We could stay up on home form alone but I would like to see a couple of away wins to ensure we do.
RF: Circumstances off the pitch have contributed to your struggles, of course. How much praise do Phil Parkinson & the players deserve for keeping the fight going then? Are the fans firmly behind the players or is there any disconnect?
ES: The players and Phil Parkinson especially deserves a tremendous amount of praise. To manage a side with no money, whom many people had written off, and take them out of the relegation places is a superb achievement. If we can somehow stay up, he certainly deserves to be the manager of the year.
There’s always a small minority who are against the manager or a certain player whenever Wanderers lose, but the majority of fans are firmly behind the side.
RF: You mentioned Gary Madine before but just how big a blow is losing him to Cardiff? He seemed fairly popular and bagged quite a few goals this season.
ES: Like I said previously, he was the focal point of the side. Hopefully we can replace his goals within the team, which is now the job of Sammy Ameobi, Tyler Walker, Zach Clough and Adam Le Fondre.
You can’t begrudge Madine a move to a side offering him more money who have a real chance of getting promoted though.
RF: I fully expect Sammy Ameobi to score again but who else should Sunderland fans be worried about in the Bolton side? Who’s in good form?
ES: On their day, the likes of Adam Le Fondre and Zach Clough can really cause problems. Lets hope that day comes against Sunderland!
RF: I feel sillier asking this question with each passing week but who are you fearful of in the Sunderland side?
ES: I know he’s not been in the side as frequently in recent times, but Aiden McGeady can always produce something.
RF: What do you expect the Bolton starting line up to be and what will be Phil Parkinson’s approach to the game?
ES: The side won’t be too dissimilar to recent games, apart from Mark Little and Josh Vela, who will definitely miss the game through the suspension and injury.
Phil Parkinson has been opting to use a 3-5-2 formation recently, with Sammy Ameobi playing as a central striker.
RF: Finally, what’s your score prediction?
ES: No idea! It’s vital we get the win though, so i’ll say 2-1 to Bolton.