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Sunderland v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League 1

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Fan Focus: Cheltenham fan Lee says it’s “not a big surprise” to see Winiesta at right-back!

Ahead of tonight’s game, we spoke to Cheltenham fan Lee Etheridge to chat about our opponents - and he’s got some interesting stuff to say, including about what Carl Winchester is capable of at right back!

Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Matthew Crichton: Cheltenham won League Two last season - is it simply about staying up this year, or are fans hopeful for more?

Lee Etheridge: It’s all about survival for the fans. Staying in League One will be as big an achievement as winning League Two last season.


MC: Michael Duff has managed the club since 2018, in what is his first job in management. How has he performed since then and can you see him managing higher up the pyramid?

LE: Michael Duff has transformed the club since his appointment. His experience at Premier League side Burnley has brought new ideas and a additional level of professionalism.

It’s almost been unparalleled success and after being a playing legend, he’s now on the way to becoming our greatest ever manager. I’ve no doubt, in time he’ll move to a far bigger club. He’s destined for the top.


MC: The club have had a steady start to the season, winning three, drawing three and losing three - how are you enjoying life in League One overall?

LE: We’ve had a pleasing start to the season and confidence is still high. We need to be at our very best in every game just to be competitive. Away trips to former Premier League sides beat dour League Two grounds any day.

Preston North End v Cheltenham Town - Carabao Cup Third Round
Duff made 337 appearances for Cheltenham before joining Burnley during his playing career.
Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

MC: Who are the Cheltenham players that you expect to cause Sunderland problems during the match?

LE: We’ve had a spate of injuries which is going to rule out several match winners. Taylor Perry who is on loan from Wolves is very nimble on the ball and has an abundance of ability from midfield. Up front, Kyle Joseph is a handful.


MC: The club lost captain Ben Tozer to former Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson’s Wrexham in the National League - were you surprised to see him drop two divisions to leave?

LE: Money talks. The whispers circulated that he wanted to leave as soon as interest was known. Shame he soured his spell by leaving so soon after winning the League Two title.


MC: Carl Winchester spent a year and a half at Cheltenham, could you ever have imagined to see him thriving at right-back?

LE: Winchester played several games for Cheltenham at full back so that’s not a big surprise. The former Forest Green captain was vilified when he left, so he will get a special reception from the travelling fans.

SOCCER Sunderland
Sunderland beat Cheltenham 1-0 in the two clubs’ only ever competitive meeting back in 2005 in the League Cup.
Photo by Owen Humphreys - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

MC: Who are eleven players that you believe Duff will select against Sunderland?

LE: Flinders, Blair, Hussey, Long, Pollock, Freestone, Sercombe (C), Thomas, Chapman, Perry, Joseph.


MC: What style of play can Lee Johnson’s men expect to encounter?

LE: I’d be surprised if we don’t play with one up front and pack the midfield. Playing our normal three at the back, expect us to pass out from defence and try and hit long diagonals when possible.


MC: It is the first meeting between the two clubs since 2005! What is your honest prediction of the final score?

LE: Like back in 2005, I’m travelling in hope but without any expectations. We’re massive underdogs, I’d be delighted with a point so I’ll go for a 1-1 score line.

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