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Roker Round-table: Our writers predict what might happen today v Birmingham - surely can’t lose?

Sunderland’s players have their tails up after managing a series of promising results against decent sides, but can they maintain their good form? Our writers give you their predictions for today’s game against Birmingham City.

Sunderland v Birmingham City - Premier League
The last time that Birmingham visited the SoL we drew 2-2, with goals coming from Darren Bent (pen) and Stephen Carr (og).
Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images

Gav - @Gav1879

It might actually be a dangerous thing that I feel as confident as I do about Sunderland’s chances of winning at home again today, but... f*ck it.

I’m not used to feeling this upbeat about our chances going into a game, but it is the festive season after all, and we’ve got to at least be happy with the fact that the lads managed to pick up all three points last weekend.

Jota and Jérémie Boga are dangerous wingers at this level and we have to be careful not to take their threat lightly, but provided we stay as tight and compact at the back as we did against Wolves and Fulham we should be alright.

Birmingham are the lowest scorers in the league and are low in confidence - if we want to stay up this season, we have to ensure we don’t drop points against teams that are around us in the table.

I honestly fancy Sunderland to pick up ANOTHER home win and ANOTHER clean sheet - I really hope that the lads don’t let me down.

Sunderland 2-0 Birmingham

MK Dons v Chelsea XI - Pre-Season Friendly
Jérémie Boga is no mug and has started for Chelsea this season in the Premier League
Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

James Copley - @JamesCopley73

Chris Coleman, in the short space of time that he has been here, appears to have instilled a defensive mentality within the squad of players at his disposal.

The lads appears to know what they're doing for once. Coleman has even managed to resurrect Darron Gibson’s form.

Moreover, the former Wales manager is brave enough to mix things up - like bringing on two youngsters in place of experienced strikers - when the result of a game hangs in the balance.

Birmingham haven't won in five and sit bottom on the table having scored just eleven goals, conceding thirty-two. This, coupled with Sunderland's newfound defensive stability, has me feeling extremely confident ahead of today’s game.

It's Christmas time, we're in good form - let's 'ave it!

Sunderland 3-0 Birmingham

Bury v Sunderland - Carabao Cup First Round
Darron Gibson was outstanding last time out against Fulham
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Mark Carrick - @Carrima

Coleman’s substitutions against Fulham were inspired, but I’m sure he’ll be the first to tell the lads - just as he did the media - that this is only a small step on our path towards redemption.

Birmingham is now a huge game - a must-win - one with which a win could help us to put some daylight between ourselves and our opponents whilst also making up some ground on the team’s directly above us. We might even dream of reigning in Barnsley!

I predict that Coleman will continue to take us back to basics, looking at who’s still ready and hungry, and who’s becoming complacent.

That said, I’m convinced he’ll have the team chomping at the bit for back-to-back wins and a fourth clean sheet in five, so I’m going for a convincing home win.

Sunderland 2-0 Birmingham

Coleman’s subs on Saturday were inspired
Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Graham - @AsylumDoors

Okay, I hear you, we won at home, the mood is good and Birmingham City are rock bottom of the league...

BUT - how often have we seen Sunderland do...well, a Sunderland? The answer is, unfortunately, all too often. I think we’ll win but it’s not going to be a four-nil thrashing. Just hold your damn horses.

That said, I’m very confident and I’ve been recorded on both our Xtra Podcast and Brum podcast the Tilton Talk saying as such - so I’m really needing to go for a win.

Birmingham have only scored eleven goals all season, so knowing our luck they’ll likely get one up here and it’ll probably be a Craig Gardner screamer. Alternatively they’ll sit back, come for the draw and get nowhere near our net.

In all honestly, I see it going a little like the Fulham game did and we’ll break down them down late on.

Sunderland 1-0 Birmingham City

Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League
Craig Gardner scored against us for West Brom a few years back
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

James Nickels - @JamesNickels

Birmingham City arrive at the Stadium of Light today absolutely rock-bottom of the Championship; 2 wins in 11, 0 in their last 5, 0 wins away from home, a league low 16 points and 11 goals scored. It is a club detached from its players as much as they are from their manager, the aloof Steve Cotterill.

Yet, we cannot underestimate anyone. Coleman knew this on Saturday in his post-Fulham press conference, and he will drill this into the team all week.

Since the Reading defeat and subsequent tactical turning-point, we’ve played the side who occupy 1st, followed by the side who at the time of playing occupied 12th, and now we will face those at the very bottom in 24th.

The three will provide completely different tests - our defensive resolve was tested for 90 minutes at Molineux, then our overall game plan came into play when facing against a decent team in Fulham, and now we need show our attacking prowess.

Play like we did against Fulham and Wolves and the Blues wont be able to live with us. Birmingham do possess some talented players, such as Jota, Jérémie Boga, and former Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner, but they simply cannot play together, defend nor score. As such, we need to take advantage and a victory is the bare minimum.

We have a real opportunity to set out a statement of intent to the rest of the league for 2018, and I think that we will.

Sunderland 3-0 Birmingham City

Sunderland v Reading - Sky Bet Championship
Chris Coleman will be looking to make a statement of intent
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Patrick Hollis - @PaddyHollis123

This is an ideal time to play against Birmingham - they are down on their luck and are yet to win away from home.

We should (should...) be flying high after finally breaking our home hoodoo. If we play with as much guile as we did against Fulham then we really should have no issues against the Steve Cotterill’s flailing side.

We appear to be much tighter at the back, so I dont expect us to concede.

Winning another home fixture would signal a fantastic finish to what has been a largely dreadful 2017 at the Stadium of Light, ending on a massive high which we can then take into two tricky away games before the year comes to a close.

Sunderland 2-0 Birmingham City

Howard Wilkinson and Steve Cotterill of Sunderland
Former Sunderland assistant Steve Cotterill will be the man in the away dugout, making his return to Wearside after many years away
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Connor Bromley - @ConnorBromley

Back to back wins? It seemed unthinkable just a few weeks ago but now we look absolutely shoe ins to get them today.

That said, I fear a sting in the tail. I feel like we are going to take a small step back after our step forward last week.

Now I don’t think we will get beat, but I think that this team is entirely capable of allowing complacency to slip in when we least expect it.

Sunderland 1-1 Birmingham City

Sunderland v Reading - Sky Bet Championship
Complacency?
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images,

Jake Hannah - @jake_hannah

So, after last week’s demolition of Fulham, surely it’s time for the lads to kick on from here. But is two home wins in a year too much to ask for? Our solid base accompanied with the promise shown from the young lads off the bench drives me towards predicting another win, but I can’t see it being an easy one.

It would be easy to become complacent against the side who find themselves in a position we have been used to occupying, but I feel we will have just enough to beat the Blues.

Momentum is huge in this league and another win would see our chances of escaping the lower reaches of the table increase massively. I’m going for a nervy win and another goal for Josh Maja from the bench.

Sunderland 2-1 Birmingham