TONIGHT, there is new league opposition to welcome to Wearside. 

It's a first ever league meeting between the Black Cats and Cheltenham who defied the odds last season to win League Two and gain promotion to the third tier of English football. 

It was always going to be an uphill task to maintain their status in the division but Robins have made a good start to their season and currently sit in mid-table. 

The team are managed by former Burnley defender Michael Duff who's been in charge since 2018.

Duff has been under the stewardship of Sean Dyche at the Clarets for the back end of his playing career and Johnson says he sees similarities between Burnley and Cheltenham. 

“I think Cheltenham have done really well" said Johnson.

"Obviously it’s a club that my dad was manager of and took them up from non-league into the league so I know it very well. Obviously local to Bristol as well.

“Many players that we’ve loaned to Cheltenham in the past from that club and I’ve got an understanding of the manager and his coaching team as well.

“Having come from Burnley, you can see a lot of that structure that they play which has come out in Cheltenham’s performance as well. Obviously he’s his own man but (Michael) Duff has obviously worked under a very good manager and a Premier League manager now for a number of years."

The weekend's recent win over Bolton Wanderers was hard fought and nervy towards the end.

While the Black Cats boss was happy to see his side grind out the result, he was adamant it could have been more entertaining for the fans. 

Johnson added: “It’s your brand isn’t it? We talked about the club having this new brave philosophy. It’s a brand of football that we’ve really tried to bring to the football club and the consumer is the fan base. 

“They’re the ones we want to make most happy, simple as that. 

“We want to win games but we want to do it with an element of style.

“If you take the highlights reel from our best moves, you’d be purring but in my opinion, there wasn’t enough of them today for how good we are. 

“That’s something where we’ve got to keep building the cohesion, keep building the performances and hopefully at that point is where you get your 4-0.”