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INTERVIEW: Mark Robins Sunderland Preview

City host the Black Cats this weekend

28 February 2020

The Sky Blues welcome Sunderland to St Andrew’s this weekend and boss Mark Robins is relishing the challenge against the Black Cats.

The two sides head into the weekend’s fixture, both on a good run of form, with City unbeaten in their last 12 and Sunderland suffering just one defeat in 14.

Sunderland boast one of the best defensive records over the last ten games, having conceded just three times over that period and Robins is looking to see if his side can dent that stat.

“There’s a challenge, can we do that.” Robins said.

“Likewise, in possession they’ve got some really good players, they’ve changed things around a lot and as I say it’s a club with great expectation on their shoulders and it’s a great game.

“I saw the Sunderland Fleetwood game from Tuesday night and they’re two similar sides, they set up the same,  good players on show and they try and play football as well in between the competitive nature of the managers and the teams that are reflecting that.

“It’s a 12pm kick-off on Sunday in front of the Sky cameras, so it’s a game to look forward to because it’s another interesting game for them as well, so hopefully the crowd will be there even though it’s on television, the atmosphere’s always good there and certainly they’re going to bring quite a lot of people as well.”

Robins will come up against Phil Parkinson for the third time this season after his opposing number was in the dugout for Bolton earlier in the season and for the Black Cats at the Stadium of Light.

The City boss praised Parkinson for the job he has done at Sunderland since taking over and for the work he has done throughout his career.

“I played with him at Reading and he was an all action aggressive midfielder who got his foot in but more than that he was a decent player and he’s been a manager a long time, he’s had success wherever he’s been really.

“At Colchester he’s had promotions and at Bradford City as well he’s had a couple of promotions but he’s done well really well where he’s been and you can see what he does, he’s done it everywhere that he’s been.

“He’s got good resources and he’s made good use of them as well and he’s got some good players at his disposal up there.”

With 12 games remaining now in the season, City find themselves 2nd in League One, level on points with the table toppers Rotherham United.

This weekend the Sky Blues will come up against 4th placed Sunderland in another top six clash.

“At the start of the season nobody had us and nobody spoke about us as promotion contenders at any point up until just recently and that’s fine.

“We’re almost the underdogs in that scenario, Rotherham have been there last season, Sunderland only three years ago were in the Premier League.

“It’s been a different journey for us, coming from League Two and back into this league and trying to do as well as we possibly can do whilst selling players and trying to cultivate a style of play without having a stadium to play in, it’s a totally different unique set of circumstances for us.

“We know what we are, what we want to do and we want to be successful there’s no doubt about it but I certainly think there’s more pressure on the other teams, the other night against Rotherham was one where I thought they started a little bit better, took us a little bit of time to set into a rhythm but once we did that we did well, in the second half we set our stall out and the second half was a totally different game and one we should have won and disappointed not to have won."


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