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Club News

The inside track on Sutton United

5 August 2022

Rovers return to the Eco-Power Stadium to take on Sutton United this weekend in their first home game of the 2022/23 Sky Bet League Two campaign.

Gary McSheffrey’s side drew 0-0 at Bradford City on the opening day of the season having been down to 10 men for more than half of the game.

Here we provide all the details on our latest opponents:

Manager:

Matt Gray

Appointed to his first managerial role at the beginning of May 2019 following the resignation of Paul Doswell, having originally joined the coaching staff the previous December, his second season in charge saw Sutton earn promotion to the EFL as National League champions.

He then guided U's to an eighth placed finish in Sky Bet League Two last season as well as a Wembley appearance in the Papa John’s Trophy final against Rotherham United. 

He previously had spells as assistant manager at Eastleigh, Aldershot and Crawley, while as a player he began his career with Tottenham and played for Cardiff, Hayes and Havant & Waterlooville before being forced to retire early through injury.

Opening day result:

The U’s were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Newport County in their first game of the new season. Omar Bugiel had given Matt Gray’s side the lead on 24 minutes, before former Rovers man Omar Bogle secured a share of the spoils for County with the equaliser seven minutes before half-time.

Key men:

Craig Eastmond

A product of the Arsenal Academy, Eastmond played 10 times for the Gunners while also spending time with Millwall, Wycombe Wanderers and Colchester United, before making a permanent move to the latter in 2013.

He spent two years at the JobServe Community Stadium before signing for Sutton. He played a crucial part in the U’s winning promotion to the Football League for the first time. He has now racked up more than 230 appearances for the club and is the man to lead the team out this season.

Alistair Smith

A midfielder with an eye for goal, Smith joined Sutton on a permanent deal from Mansfield last summer after making a handful of league appearances for the Stags.

It was a season with Altrincham which caught Matt Gray’s eye, as the 23-year-old played 30 times to build on his experience in men’s football.

Smith had a solid first season with the U’s, chipping in with nine goals from midfield as Sutton missed out on the Sky Bet League Two play-offs by just one point.

Omar Bugiel

The experienced front man had his first taste of English football with Forest Green Rovers in 2017. An impressive move to Bromley led to a permanent move to the Non League side, where he would spend just one season before signing for Sutton in 2019.

In three years with the club, the 28-year-old has played 115 times and established himself as a key part of Matt Gray’s forward line. He opened his account with a smart finish against Newport on the opening day of the Sky Bet League Two campaign.

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