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Roker Roundtable: Our writers predict and preview Saturday’s clash with Ipswich

Our select group of Roker Report writers are back again this week to give their previews and predictions on what is to come for Chris Coleman and Sunderland this afternoon when they take on Ipswich.

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

Gav - @Gav1879

I’m sick of calling each and every upcoming game a ‘must win’ now - they all are, and despite the unbelievable importance that each fixture holds, we don’t seem capable of putting together a string of good performances.

We come up against another team in terrible form and if the introduction of new, energetic players isn’t enough to inspire us to victory then I’m out of ideas as to how we can turn this around quickly.

Fact is, these new signings have to hit the ground running if we are to stand any chance of pulling away from the relegation places, and with a really difficult game coming up next weekend we simply have to get the three points this afternoon.

That said, I think that, somehow, we’ll pull it off... just don’t ask me why.

Sunderland 1-0 Ipswich

Birmingham City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
The newbies - like Kazenga - must perform from the off.
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Adam - @DEG_adamjohnson

Back to square one, yet again.

Tuesday night’s game couldn’t have been much worse for us. Not only did we concede three goals against the worst attack in the league, but we threw away all the hard work from the Hull victory. Nevertheless, we’ve boosted the squad with some fresh faces and hopefully they’ll give everyone a lift.

No doubt Ashley Fletcher will be thrown straight into the starting line-up and the midfield will finally have someone big enough to aim for. Don’t get me wrong, long balls against a side set up by Mick McCarthy isn’t really the best approach, but it gives us something different that we’ve lacked in previous weeks. With LuaLua in behind Fletcher and given license to roam, we should be able to trouble the Tractor Boys.

It’s weird being optimistic about Sunderland, especially after our recent fortunes. But, were facing an Ipswich side that are in a poor run of form and have struggled on the road all season. I fancy the youngsters to get the job done and give us some hope....for a week at least.

Sunderland 2-1 Ipswich

Sunderland Unveil New Loan Signing Ashley Fletcher
Fletcher should make his debut
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Bromley - @ConnorBromley

Ipswich are decent. I like their manager and squad. They do well to regularly sustain a solid mid-table position in this league despite rarely spending any money. They sort of remind me of Stoke when they first came into the Premier League - solid, but beatable.

Sunderland need to win this weekend. A draw will not do - it is time to start building some momentum at home and back to back wins at the SOL will feel like a hell of an accomplishment if we achieve it.

But can we do it? I think not. I fancy a 1-1 draw, with Ashley Fletcher to score on his debut.

Sunderland 1-1 Ipswich

Fulham v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship
Ipswich - the Championship’s equivalent to Tony Pulis’ Stoke City?
Photo by Kieran Galvin/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dan Parker - @DGP202

Never have we needed a win more. The midweek defeat to Birmingham was tough to take because it looked like we’d turned a corner against Hull. We definitely hadn’t.

I want to cling to the positives. We had no money to spend in January (obviously, thanks Ellis) but at least Chris Coleman brought in different options to supplement what has been a largely ineffective attack in recent weeks. In Ejaria, Fletcher and LuaLua we now have the potential to mix up our attacks rather than stick to the tired, predictable format of lumping the ball into the channels for one of our young lads to chase.

This is a crucial game but, sadly, I just can’t see anything but an Ipswich win. These are the games we have to win to stay up but I just don’t see how that’s possible. Please prove me wrong, Lads.

Sunderland 1-2 Ipswich

Sunderland Unveil New Loan Signing Ovie Ejaria
Hopefully Ovie Ejaria can contribute to our attack on Saturday
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Mark Carrick - @Carrima

I didn’t think we’d beat Hull, but then I had high hopes against Birmingham. So I’m tempted to say we have no chance today....and hope I’m wrong again!

But I’m in that strange position of actually thinking we might bounce back in the same way we did at Forest after the Sheffield United debacle. Coleman seems to eek out a decent result following a disappointing defeat. And we have a new few faces in the squad to lift the players. Which of them starts at Ipswich is hard to call. Not many will be match-fit, and we now have the strange dilemma of which five from seven loan players get the nod and which two miss out.

I suspect this game may come too soon for Jonny Williams and I also suspect Clarke-Salter and Browning will retain their places. Hopefully Lee Camp will make his debut, as it’s becoming harder to rely on Ruiter to put in consistent performances. So that’s three places. I’d be tempted to give Fletcher one of the spots, probably from the bench, and the last one may see Ejaria alongside him.

Hopefully John O’Shea will be available and back to help the young lads and we have to trust that the Cattermole against Hull City will turn up, instead of the Cattermole against Birmingham City. If Honeyman can reacquaint himself with Ovideo down the left, we might see a more effective midfield in support of our young strikers.

With that in mind, I’m going for a narrow win. Heaven knows we need the points.

Sunderland 1-0 Ipswich

Rotherham United v Sunderland - Pre-Season Friendly
A safer pair of hands would be very welcome
Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images