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Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One

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Fan Focus: Cheltenham fan Lee says Carl Winchester “will be booed” throughout the match!

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 Carl Winchester’s exit to Forest Green!

Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Matthew Crichton: After a very good start to life in League One, Cheltenham have failed to win any of their last 11 league matches - what are the factors behind your dip in form?

Lee Etheridge: Our failure to finish the chances we’ve created has been the main factor in our dip in form.

When we have gone in front, we’ve struggled to hold onto a lead and have a habit of conceding late goals.

We’ve deserved more points than we’ve got which has started to result in us looking over our shoulders at the teams towards to bottom of the table.

MC: As a result of that, has pressure started to mount on Michael Duff, or are fans still confident that he can deliver survival?

LE: After winning League Two for the first time last season, Michael Duff isn’t under any pressure from the fans.

Duff himself will want to finish the season strongly and he still has the full backing of everyone that our League One status can be secured.

MC: From an outside perspective, what are your thoughts on the sacking of Lee Johnson and the potential return of Roy Keane?

LE: The news stories coming out of the club indicated all wasn’t well under the Johnson stewardship.

It seemed like fans wanted more and after the thumping by Bolton, it wasn’t a surprise to see Lee Johnson lose his job.

Roy Keane appearing in the dugout at Whaddon road would be an interesting sight. I’m not sure going back after a previous manager is always a good idea.

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Premier League
Will it be a return for Roy Keane, or a new start under Grant McCann?
Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

MC: Cheltenham recruited eight new players in January, who has stood out so far and who has been underwhelming?

LE: Forward Dan Nlundulu came with a few grumblings by fans of his previous loan club Lincoln but he’s been a good addition and complimented the team well. Unfortunately he’s now out injured.

Aaron Ramsey arrived with an excellent reputation, but we’ve yet to see the Aston Villa youngster for more than a few minutes and so far he’s been underused.

MC: Aside from your new faces, which of Duff’s players will Sunderland have to be wary of?

LE: Midfield starlet Callum Wright is the main creative threat. The Leicester City loanee has an eye for goal and always seems to pop up in the right place at the right time.

Forward Alfie May is another who will need close attention. May is our top goalscorer and when he’s on form, the team seems to thrive.

MC: Carl Winchester was booed by Cheltenham during your visit to the Stadium of Light, what is the reasoning behind that and are you expecting him to receive a difficult reception?

LE: The former Cheltenham captain will be booed from the moment he steps off the coach.

It’s no surprise after leaving under a cloud on a free transfer to our nearest league rivals Forest Green Rovers.

Winchester chased the money and never entertained an extension to his contract which was on the table for a long time. He’s going to be targeted by our fans.

Lincoln City v Cheltenham Town - Sky Bet League Two
Winchester made 70 appearances for Cheltenham, scoring six goals.
Photo by Andrew Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

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

LE: My lineup would be: 5-3-2, Evans (GK), Blair, B Williams, Boyle, Pollock, Raglan, Bonds, Colkett, Wright, May, Etete.

MC: What style of play can Sunderland expect to encounter during the match?

LE: Earlier in the season we liked to pass into midfield and play out to the full backs.

More recently, our January signings have brought a physicality up front which has allowed us to play a more direct style.

With little to lose I expect us to press high and try and force the Sunderland defence into errors.

MC: Sunderland have never played at Whaddon Road before, what is your prediction for the final score?

LE: Neither team is in great form so I’d settle for a point even though we badly need the victory to keep away from the bottom four.

1-1 FT.


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