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Roker Roundtable: Our writers predict what’ll happen later in the Sunderland v Birmingham game

Can Sunderland secure back-to-back victories with a win against fellow strugglers Birmingham this evening? Our writers give you their predictions ahead of today’s game.

Sunderland v Hull City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Gav - @Gav1879

Christ... what a massive game this is.

We have a genuine opportunity to push on and move forward, another step away from the relegation fight. Lose, though, and it puts us right back in the mire.

I’m not particularly confident, but we have to remember who we are playing, and we have to be confident that we’ll have enough about us to actually pick up a decent result.

That said, this just has draw written all over it, doesn’t it? Birmingham’s form has improved recently and they need a win just as much as we do, but like ourselves they aren’t particularly prolific in front of goal and I just wonder whether either team have it in them to take the opportunity with both hands.

Birmingham 1-1 Sunderland

Sunderland v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

James Nickels - @JamesNickels

I was convinced of a victory last time out against the Blues after our win over Fulham. However, on the day, we didn’t play to the same high level, as Birmingham surprisingly impressed and were far from the worst side we’ve seen at the SoL this season (that award falls firmly at Hull City’s feet).

Birmingham themselves have also seen results pick up lately, coming away with eight points in their last six games, compared to just five in their ten matches before we last met. In fact, until the 3-0 dismantling by Derby County a fortnight ago, Steve Cotterill’s side were on a run of three victories in a row in all competitions, recording a clean sheet in each.

One of the reasons for this upturn is the improving form of Sam Gallagher, the 6’4” striker was signed on loan from Southampton in the summer and had scored a paltry one goal in 19 games before the two sides met. He - somewhat fortuitously - found the net at the SoL after an impressive overall performance before stupidly getting himself sent off in the second-half for a mistimed challenge. However, Gallagher has scored four in his last six, and will be a threat at St. Andrews.

Their other two danger men that day - Cheick N’Doye and Jota - are seriously out of form. In fact, Jota has been so bad, Birmingham fans think he is genuinely missing - by all accounts his only decent performance this season was at the SoL (typical).

N’Doye played behind Gallagher last time out, with his verticality and physicality causing John O’Shea all types of consternation, but with the return of David Davis from injury he has now dropped to a deeper role and returned to his usual mediocre self - and might even be off to France by then anyway.

Birmingham have only won one game in eight at home, scoring five goals and conceding ten. If we can do what sides done to us in all of 2017 - take advantage of this fact and get our pacey, youthful players to be in the ascendancy early, I’d expect this dissatisfaction at St. Andrews to fester and we could even come away with a vital string of victories in a row for the first time this season.

Birmingham City 0-2 Sunderland

Sunderland v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Graham - @AsylumDoors

For my money, Birmingham are not as bad as their league position suggests and I was impressed with them when they came to the Stadium of Light. I think Sam Gallagher is a real handful and they have some pace in and around the box that will cause us problems.

That aside, I do think Joel Asoro can give them problems with his pace, and we shouldn’t go to any ground in this league and be worried - not in reality.

Birmingham City 1-1 Sunderland

Sunderland Training Session Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Paddy Hollis- @PaddyHollis123

I am quietly confident about this one and I’m sure I am going to regret that.

The team which Chris Coleman played last week was nothing special but the players managed to dig deep and put in the performance we desperately needed. A trip to another relegation rival provides us with a chance to move clear of the drop zone; I think it is a chance we will take.

LuaLua will probably be involved at some point and his pace and assists could be key to us staying up. This is my heart talking, but I do think we will nab this one and send our hosts deeper into their own relegation scrap.

It will be great to see some of the younger players get the chance to thrive again, and from the sounds of it Birmingham’s back four aren’t too keen on pace so Asoro and Maja could be more than a handful for them.

Prediction: Birmingham City 0-1 Sunderland

Sunderland Training Session Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Jake Hannah - @jake_hannah

It’s time to get carried away again I reckon! I honestly can’t remember the last time we got back-to-back victories but our youthful side seems desperate to put an end to this dreadful time for the club.

Fingers crossed we go for a similar team as we did last time out, proving to the likes of Robson and Asoro that with quality performances come more opportunities to play. Hungry youngsters are about the best we can hope for at the minute, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of great things.

I really wasn’t impressed with this Birmingham side in the home fixture and their recent form hasn’t exactly seen a huge upturn in fortunes. Whether our lads are capable of another strong performance remains to be seen - but I, for one, am feeling extremely optimistic.

Birmingham 0-3 Sunderland

Sunderland Training Session Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Mark Carrick - @Carrima

Can we finally get back to back wins? That is the question. We have been here before, of course. A win has raised hopes and we are faced with a winnable follow-up game. Only, we haven’t quite managed it... Yet.

I do think Coleman is slowly but surely getting things right at the club. He’s stood for no-nonsense from those players who want out, he’s trusted those who would run through a brick wall for Sunderland and he’s tinkered with a formation that got a well-deserved win last time out against Hull City.

It may have only been 1-0, but the signs were there that the injection of youth could carry us away from the bottom of the league. We played with a higher tempo and saw positive partnerships all over the pitch.

It does lead me to think that we can go to Birmingham and finally get over the next psychological hurdle. It may be another slim margin, as we look to hold onto a lead, but back-to-back wins is on!

Birmingham 0-1 Sunderland

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