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Roker Roundtable: Our writers predict what might happen when Sunderland travel to Bristol City

Can Sunderland’s road to recovery start with a victory at Ashton Gate today? Our writers give their predictions on what might happen when the two sides meet.

Ashton Gate GV Getty Images

Gav - @Gav1879

At some point Sunderland’s dire luck has to change, so why not this weekend? Sure, Bristol City are a better side than we are and are battling at the other end of the table, but the Championship is a fairly poor league (of which, admittedly, we are one of the poorest), and anyone really can beat anyone. More often than not a result at this level tends to be decided based on who is more up for it on the day.

Chris Coleman usually tends to pull a rabbit out of the hat after a particularly bad defeat and I just hope he’s able to do it again today. We’ve got to, at some point, go on a run of decent form in order to pull ourselves out of the mire and the incentive for doing so is laid bare in front of us - a win, coupled with results going our way elsewhere, could take us out of the bottom three.

Our fate is still well within our hands.

I hope that Coleman really goes for it. I know that he prefers not to play with wingers but at some point we need to go away from home and take the game to our opposition. Kazenga LuaLua and Aiden McGeady are far too talented to keep warming the bench and I just think that if we try and get at teams we’ll win more often than not. Being uber-defensive and asking our back five to take the pressure for 90 minutes is costing us too many goals and points. Why not go for it for once?

Bristol City 1-2 Sunderland

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship
Go for it!
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Chris - @ChrisSavedLatin

Sunderland under Chris Coleman are still very much a work in progress. I’m still yet to see the lads show up for a full 45 minutes let alone a full game, and I can’t see this weekend being any different.

Our new January recruits will hopefully add some fresh new options and ideas to our squad, and despite our woeful season and stop-start beginning to life under Coleman, I have every faith that the Welshman can keep us up, but only just! However, I don’t see that survival push beginning in Bristol. Defensively we are poor and up top we are very hit and miss, so who really knows what version of Sunderland will turn up. If we can show the fight and passion that we did against Hull last month then I’d hope that we could snatch a point, although I wouldn’t be too disheartened if we did show that kind of desire and lost narrowly.

Prediction: Bristol City 1-1 Sunderland

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

Paddy- @PaddyHollis123

There’s still time for a recovery to take place at Sunderland - I just don’t think it will start at Ashton Gate.

Bristol City have had a superb campaign so far and they will see us as a team ripe for the taking, and they have every right to think that. It feels harder to be more optimistic these days. I really felt we could get a result last time out against Ipswich.

The Robins are pretty tough to beat on their own patch, only losing four of their 15 matches at home this year. Their resilience will play a big part this weekend and I feel we will struggle to get a foothold in the game, perhaps in a similar fashion to how the Cardiff game played out.

Prediction: Bristol City 2-0 Sunderland

Bristol City v Manchester United - Carabao Cup Quarter-Final Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Chris Camm - @christophecamm

I still firmly believe that, despite what recent performances suggest, we will stay up this season. The main quality Sunderland need to bring to this weekend’s game (and to all the other games) is a sense of urgency. That doesn’t mean recklessness going forward, or panicking when we’re under pressure. But a real, heads down, bit-stuck-between-the-teeth performance from a young group who have had to gel together in a very short amount of time.

If the result doesn’t come this weekend then we’ll just have to move on as we have done far too many times this season. What is more important is that our performance is up to scratch. A strong performance that forces Bristol City to play their best football could be great news for Coleman and a huge boost to the morale of the players.

Hopefully that performance does even more than just raise spirits but also sticks three points on the board.

Bristol City 0-1 Sunderland

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

Mark Carrick - @Carrima

If we are going to save ourselves this season we have to start soon. The Hull City win seems ages ago, with back to back defeats against Birmingham and Ipswich sapping whatever confidence that win generated.

Talk on the terraces is of protest against an absent owner but Saturday becomes all about this group of players.

Chris Coleman will be drumming into them the need for three points. The need to keep things tight. The need to keep our heads when things go wrong. For the young kids in that dressing room, this will be an experience that will help them grow into men. And now those men have to stand up and be counted.

I think we can spring a surprise. Maybe it’s the optimism talking or maybe it’s the thought that 3 points will lift us out of the bottom three if Barnsley lose. The sooner we get our noses above that line the better. Truly, I hope it’s Saturday.

Bristol City 0-1 Sunderland

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

Adam - @DEG_adamjohnson

When you’re desperate for results the last place you want to go is to a team in the top six fighting for automatic promotion. But, in the Championship every game is a challenge.

The frustrating thing is that we’ve actually played relatively well in the last few games, but as soon as we concede, it’s over. That’s something that has to change, the mentality of the team has to be stronger if we’re going to survive in this league. On paper, Saturday’s game away to Bristol City is a write off - they’ve had a great season up to now and are a force on their own patch. However, they’re definitely suffering as of late, only picking up 8 points in their last 8 games.

The plan for Coleman and the players will be to stay in the game as long as possible and get back to making ourselves tough to beat. Sure, we might need the first goal, but it doesn’t have to come in the first twenty minutes. We need to make it difficult for City, stay compact and counter when we can with LuaLua and Fletcher’s pace. The results will definitely start to turn and hopefully that starts on Saturday.

Bristol City 1-1 Sunderland

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship
Fletcher’s pace will come in useful
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Jake Hannah - @jake_hannah

Bristol City seem to have got it right this year, whereas our lot are really struggling to put any sort of run together. We are right up against it here after back to back defeats in what seemed like two very winnable games.

With all the turmoil surrounding the club at present, Chris Coleman has a massive task on his hands to prepare the Lads for the trip to the Play-Off hopefuls and Carabao Cup semi-finalists. The idea of having a recognised striker in the team is one that fills me with confidence that we may actually be able to score on a more regular basis.

It will be a long old trip for the faithful fans making the journey South so I’m hoping the players can put in a solid performance for them, but I can’t quite see us walking away with all three points.

Bristol City 2-2 Sunderland

Bristol City v Manchester City - Carabao Cup Semi-Final: Second Leg Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Bromley - @ConnorBromley

The last couple of games have been utterly abysmal, losing two in a row to Birmingham and Ipswich is unacceptable and a sure fire way of getting relegated. Somehow though we sit just two points away from safety such is the weakness of those around us in the table.

Saturday presents us with a chance to get back on track against out-of-sorts Bristol City. So many times this season we have seen Sunderland blunder chances against sides who are on bad runs, only to play them back into form.

Same again this weekend? I would probably say yes. Bristol City are still very good and they will be relishing the opportunity to beat a side that are struggling themselves.

Bristol City 3-0 Sunderland