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Pre Sunderland | Steve Cotterill

5 January 2023


Pre Sunderland | Steve Cotterill

5 January 2023

Steve Cotterill spoke to the media ahead of our FA Cup third-round clash with Sunderland.

Tony Mowbray's men visit Montgomery Waters Meadow on Saturday in the world's oldest knockout competition.

Town enter the game on the back of another week where we have successfully appealed a red card - with Matthew Pennington now available after his dismissal against Fleetwood was overturned.

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 just last week.

In a statement on Wednesday, we confirmed we have written to PGMOL (the Professional Game Match Officials Limited) and the Football Association to express our concerns.

Speaking ahead of the visit of Sunderland, Steve discussed the red cards and taking on a Sunderland side that won promotion from League One last season.

And the boss also gave an update on Tom Flanagan who came off against Fleetwood after taking a knee to his side.


"The red cards - I think the statement that has been put out says it all. 

"It’s not just this season either – when you look at some of the decisions we have had, they have been really, really, poor. Really poor. 

"And no matter what you do, you can’t get away from it. You can’t get those points back. 

"They have been big moments in games. To get three red cards on the spin, I don’t think I’ve had that in 28 years of management. 

"I think the one with Ryan Bowman (at Cambridge on Boxing Day) – we probably could have appealed that one as well.

"But the footage from the game was poor, we didn’t have the right angles to show it was an obvious wrong decision from the referee, otherwise we'd probably have had a go at that one as well. 

"The others, Luke Leahy – how you can get sent off for putting your hand on the back of someone’s neck? I can’t believe what the referee has seen. 

"And at the weekend, when you look at that one, the ball hitting Matthew Pennington on the shoulder – you only have to look at the rules and it shows in green (on a diagram) where it is handball and a penalty. 

"A red card? The penalty is bad enough. But a red card on the back of it - I don’t get it, I really don’t. 

"It’s happened and it’s happened time and time again to us. I can’t believe they can get it so badly wrong. 

"The referee on Saturday didn’t give himself time to think about it. To win an appeal, first and foremost you have got to be right. 

"But the work that has to go into those appeals – you would not believe it. 

"It’s not just ‘here you go have a look at this.’ There is so much that has to go into them. They are really hard work and time-consuming. 

"Thankfully we have won the appeals. But that doesn’t just happen, there is a lot of work that goes into them. 

"We have put a lot of hard work into that over the past week because of Luke’s as well. It’s been a good job by all on that – Brian (CEO Brian Caldwell) and Jayne (club secretary Jayne Bebb). There has been a lot of input and a lot of help."


"We’ll need some noisy fans behind us this week because Sunderland will have them, that's for sure. I think they have sold out their end. 

"They will get right behind Sunderland so we need our guys in the other three stands of the ground to really get behind the lads and help them out. 

"It's going to be a difficult game, they are a good team. I know Tony Mowbray very well. I’ve come up against him a few times. 

"It will be a tough game whatever side they put out. I think they’ll put out a strong team."


"I think there have been quite a few changes there since we played them in the league. 

"I think their team has got a lot younger. It’s dynamic, they have got lots of tricky players, speed and of course a really good goal scorer who is firing in Ross Stewart. 

"Whether Tony starts him or not – that's not our business. But I’m sure they have got other players who can fill the void."


"No, he can't."


"He's not looking the best at the moment."


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