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Sunderland v Accrington Stanley - Sky Bet League One

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Fan Focus: Accrington fan Callum is predicting a 4-0 win for John Coleman’s side against Sunderland!

Ahead of Sunderland’s away trip to the Crown Ground, we spoke to Accrington fan Callum Gibson of the Raw Milk Podcast to get the lowdown on John Coleman’s side!

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Matthew Crichton: Accrington currently sit 11th in League One, is it a case that you’re trying to put a late playoff run together rather than worrying about relegation?

Callum Gibson: Relegation is not on the agenda and that will be the case as long as John Coleman is in charge at the Crown Ground.

We seem to have found some consistency since a bout of squad soul searching after a 4-0 capitulation at Burton Albion.

We certainly have the squad and ability to at least flirt with the playoffs. We will however need some good fortune with injuries and suspensions if we are to challenge.

MC: At the Crown Ground, Accrington have only lost three of your 12 league matches this season - what makes your side so difficult to beat at home?

GC: The hallowed Crown has long been a fortress and good home records have been crucial to each of the four titles John Coleman has accrued during his time at the club.

It’s a tight ground in which the fans really get in your face and make a difference.

Big teams seldom enjoy it and it can often make well-attended league games have almost a cup tie feel.

MC: John Coleman continues to defy expectations at Accrington on a low budget, does it make his achievements this season even better given how many ex-Premier League clubs you are up against?

GC: If you look at the struggles Morecambe are having in this division it is perhaps representative of where Stanley should be.

For this little ​mill town to host third-tier football is nothing short of remarkable. John Coleman doesn’t believe in “little old Accy” and stresses to the squad that we are here on merit.

We apply ourselves in the same manner for a game against Bamber Bridge as we do against the Boltons and Sunderlands of this world.

There are clubs with bigger budgets and gate in Non-League and yet rather than being happy to be here, Coley states he believes there’s another promotion left in us. The Messiah!

Accrington Stanley v Rotherham United - Sky Bet League One - Wham Stadium
John Coleman has over a 40% win ratio across his two spells as manager of Accrington Stanley.
Photo by Nigel French/PA Images via Getty Images

MC: After scoring 19 goals last season, Dion Charles left your club to join Bolton earlier this month - were you frustrated to see your top scorer go?

GC: It's always sad to see a decent player leave but it was also cathartic for Stanleyites to end the saga.

It’s well documented that Dion threw his toys out of the pram in order to try and force a move away, in stark contrast to Colby Bishop who had the same frustrations but has continued to represent the club admirably and with dignity.

MC: Another player Accrington lost to Bolton was 19-year-old Manchester City goalkeeper James Trafford, were you disappointed to see him stay for the full season?

GC: Not particularly. It's a testament to how well young Toby Savin has stepped up to the plate that James could not force his way back into the team.

He did little wrong and I am sure his time will come again.

MC: In terms of incomings, Coleman has signed two new players during the window in Rosaire Longelo and Jay Rich-Baghuelou - what are you expecting from them?

GC: Both relatively unknown but both in positions that needed ​strengthening in midfield and defence respectively.

JRB will certainly add height to the backline at 6ft 5” and give us a bigger threat on set pieces. I do not expect either to start tomorrow, but I am sure Sunderland fans will be wary of an ex-Newcastle player making his mark if Longelo makes a cameo!

Accrington Stanley v AFC Wimbledon - Sky Bet League One
Colby Bishop has scored 34 goals in 104 appearances since joining Accrington.
Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

MC: Which Sunderland players do you think Accrington will have to be wary of during the game?

GC: It’s a relief to all in this corner of East Lancashire that Aiden McGeady is out as he seems to torture us every time he plays and frankly should not be plying his trade in the third tier.

Ross Stewart is the danger man and it should be an interesting battle between him and Michal Nottingham. Hopefully the Sherrif can keep him quiet!

MC: Which eleven players do you think Coleman will select and what style of play can Lee Johnson’s men expect to encounter?

GC: It should be an entertaining spectacle as both teams like to attack. We fear nobody at the Crown as was shown by the beating of Rotherham on Boxing Day who had not lost since September.

There will be an enforced change owing to Liam Coyle's red card against MK Dons last time out. I expect the following XI in a 3-4-2-1 formation.

Savin (GK), Clark, Sykes, Nottingham, O’Sullivan, Butcher, Pell, Hamilton, Leigh, McConville, Bishop.

MC: Lastly, Sunderland beat Accrington 2-1 earlier this season, what is your prediction for the score this time around?

GC: 4-0 Stanley. Hope springs eternal.


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