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Interviews

INTERVIEW: Coley looks ahead to Sunderland

Reds boss targets four wins - and see where it takes his team

22 April 2021

John Coleman is targeting 73 points for his side – which he feels may be enough to secure a Play-Off place.

It does mean the Reds have to win all their four remaining games, starting at the  Stadium of Light against third placed Sunderland on Saturday.

Stanley are currently in 12th place on 61 points while Sunderland are 11 points ahead but they haven’t won in their last five games, with three defeats in that.

Charlie Wyke is their top scorer with 23 goals and they will still hope they can close the seven point deficit on second placed Peterborough.

Coleman just wants his side to go out and express themselves and play with no fear and get an elusive win over Sunderland – a team they haven’t beaten in recent years.

The Reds come into it on the back of a late 2-1 win over Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday.

“We are the masters of the bounce back but it’s so frustrating,” said Coleman. “We had 26 shots against Doncaster and you scratch your heads why we couldn’t do that against Rochdale and Wimbledon and that’s no disrespect to those two teams because they were better than us on the day.

“But we have shown time and time again we have got the players who can be better than most teams in this league but we go again on Saturday and we see where it takes us.

“Going to the Stadium of Light should lift anybody, players of our standard, and possibly that’s why Sunderland have had that problem the last couple of years that people are enthused by going there.

“We shouldn’t have to motivate the lads, we have played there well in the past so hopefully we will continue to do so again.

“For us, we have got to play four teams who are above us, if you beat them all you are going to do some serious damage to them. I wouldn’t be surprised if 73 points got you into the Play-Offs this year.

“This season, there is no stand out team in the league, anyone can beat anyone. If you look at our record against the top 12, and our record against the bottom 12, there is a big difference.

“No one should feel out of contention until they are actually out of contention because it’s been such a strange season. I think that will continue, there will still be twists and turns in the next two or three weeks. You just have to hope you are at the end of one of the twists.

“If we win the next four we have a chance of getting into the Play-Offs, if we don’t win the next one that’s probably us out of it.”

Coleman has every respect for Lee Johnson’s Sunderland side who have been trying to win promotion from League One for three seasons and won the EFL Trophy this season.

“Logic says an empty stadium should favour us rather than the home side, but I am not thinking about that. I am thinking how we play against 11 Sunderland players not the very passionate and vociferous Mackems.

“It’s nice to be going to these places like the Stadium of Light but these clubs should be playing higher. Sunderland have got a marvellous fan base, great, passionate fans, they are a massive club that unfortunately isn’t where it should be in my opinion and I would like to see them restored to where they should be in the leagues.

“Lee has done well, he knows his onions, he has not gone into a team in freefall, they have got a good squad of players, a healthy budget, a marvellous training ground and he will believe he has a great chance of getting them promoted.”

Joe Pritchard is back in contention for this weekend and Joe Maguire is back after illness.

The full pre-match interview video with John Coleman is available to watch on the club's official YouTube channel, CLICK HERE to find out more!


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