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Interviews

Pre Sunderland | Elliott Bennett

6 January 2023

Elliott Bennett chatted to the media ahead of our FA Cup third-round clash with Sunderland.

Tony Mowbray's side visit Montgomery Waters Meadow tomorrow in the world's oldest knockout competition. 

Elliott is available for the game despite picking up a calf injury in mid-November that initially looked set to keep him out for 12 weeks. 

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s cup tie, the 34-year-old explained how he has been able to return to fitness so quickly. 

And the wing-back also discussed his favourite cup memories as well as giving his thoughts on another week where we successfully appealed a red card. 

Matthew Pennington can now play tomorrow after his dismissal against Fleetwood was overturned. 

But that red card was the third we have overturned this season with Tom Flanagan incorrectly sent off against Accrington Stanley in August and Luke Leahy incorrectly dismissed against Cheltenham last week. 

ON THE SUNDERLAND GAME: 

"I'm really looking forward to it. It's a special competition and it's always a privilege and an honour to be involved in it.” 

ON HIS FAVOURITE CUP MEMORIES: 

"Last year is a big one - going up to Anfield. I think it was a massive occasion for the football club, a massive occasion for the players, and one that we enjoyed despite the result.” 

ON HIS FITNESS: 

"I feel good. I've done a lot of work with the physios on the fitness side of stuff to try and get myself back ready and we managed to be ahead of schedule which is what I was aiming for.  

“I just need to stay fit now and help out the team in any way I can.” 

ON HOW HE STAYS IN GOOD SHAPE: 

"It's just following the people we've got behind the scenes really like the physios or the sports scientists.  

“They're the experts who have done their degrees and got their experience.  

"It's not nice being injured. You always want to be out there playing. I just find that if you listen to them and do everything you're told, that gives you the best chance at being back sooner. 

"I think you have to look after yourself when you get to my age! I'm not a spring chicken anymore, unfortunately.  

“The gaffer demands hard work on the pitch and in training and I pride myself on never falling behind and I don't want to let anyone down, so to keep up with these young lads these days you've got to work hard.  

"I'm never going to be as fit as some people in the squad but so long as I give the best version of me each day I'll be happy." 

ON THE OVERTURNED RED CARDS: 

"It's frustrating. There's nothing we can do about it but frustration is the biggest feeling.  

“We played Sunday and after that short period in the game when you're a man down from the 20th minute and you're one down from the penalty that shouldn't have been a penalty, you have a mountain to climb. 

"It's good that it's been rescinded because it's the right outcome but it doesn't bring back the 70 minutes we lost. But that's football, that's the way it goes.  

“I'm not a massive fan of VAR but in those situations, it would have been handy. But we are where we are. 

“Referees have a tough job, they have to get every decision right and maybe sometimes you have players and fans appealing for throw-ins in on the halfway line that don't matter too much. 

“You just want them to get the big decisions right in the big moments. Unfortunately, lately, they haven't gone our way. But that's football - that's the way it goes. 

“They normally say it evens itself out over the course of the season - so I think we're due a few decisions in our favour!” 

ON OUR FANS: 

“We need them. We need them every week. The FA Cup brings people out - especially when you are playing a team from a higher league. 

“We need them to back us. Let's try and have another FA Cup run, let's try and overcome a team that is doing well in the Championship. Why can't we be in the fourth round? 

"We are under no illusions how difficult it is going to be - Sunderland are doing really well. We have got to make sure we do everything we've been working on in training with the manager.” 

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