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Roker Roundtable: Our writers predict how the end of Sunderland’s season will unfold - Trophies?

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With the transfer deadline closed and the finish line in sight, we ask some of the Roker Report writers to tell us how they think it will all play out for Sunderland. It should be obvious... shouldn’t it?!

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Transfer window rating (out of 10)?

Jake Hannah: 10/10

On paper, this could easily pass as a good transfer window for a Championship side.

Mark Carrick: 8/10

First choice of defender, midfielder and striker all signed. Sinclair removed and replaced. Loss of Josh Maja perhaps only negative but nothing could have been done that wasn’t attempted. Perhaps all completed a tad late, though.

Gavin Hawkton: 8/10

The importance of Will Grigg, however late, cannot be understated. This was THE crucial signing that made the transfer window an overall success. Full credit has to go to Stewart Donald for getting it over the line and delivering on his promise to back Jack Ross.

Craig Davies: 7/10

A solid 7/10. I would have gone higher perhaps if we hadn’t left it until the last minute, but Stewart has admitted some mistakes. On reflection he will learn from those timing errors which will only help him and us in the future.

Tom Atkinson: 8/10

Should Grigg hit the ground running and young Sterling continue to be a menace to opposition defences, then the loss of Maja will be muted. I would still like us to bring in a tall, athletic midfielder capable of scrapping in the middle and getting into the oppositions’s area.

Chris Wynn: 8/10

Still not quite sure how it turned into a last minute panic but I think it looks like we might have played the loan market well. Two highly rated players from Premier League clubs that look hungry for a change, Morgan and Leadbitter gives us the extra options we needed in midfield, and Grigg is the icing on the cake.


Top Six in League One?

Mark: “Luton are still flying!”

Sunderland can match them with games in hand. I suspect Portsmouth’s dip in form, like Peterborough before them, will see them finish in play-offs.

Gav: “For me it will be Luton and Sunderland!”

Now we have Grigg in the side and the threat to score more than one goal a game, I think we can really build momentum now and secure automatic promotion. Luton look really strong and they look like a good bet to finish top two.

Craig: “I’m going for Barnsley and Sunderland!”

Luton are the best team I think we’ve seen us play, but they haven’t had a wobbly patch yet. Barnsley play the right way and have a big threat in Kieffer Moore, and us... because I’m so biased.

Tom: “Luton with Sunderland just behind!”

I can’t see anyone stopping Luton if truth be told, they’re a good side and I can see them maintaining their form. We haven’t won many games in a comprehensive manner, that needs to change if we want to secure a spot in the top-two.

Chris: “I think Luton will win the title!”

Not entirely sure they’re going to have a bad patch this season. The January window signings should be what we need to turn draws into wins and get us over the line... just. It’s going to be tight.

Luton Town v Sheffield Wednesday - FA Cup Third Round Replay Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Checkatrade Trophy Winners?

Jake:Sunderland!”

No further comment required.

Mark:Sunderland!”

I think Sunderland will win it.

Gav:Sunderland!”

A Sunderland and Portsmouth final would be quite a game in a packed Wembley. Sunderland to win obviously as the capital city gets overtaken by a sea of red and white.

Craig:Sunderland!”

See my aforementioned bias - Sunderland to be victorious.

Tom:Sunderland!”

Another weekend of Covent Garden and the surrounding areas beckons. Another magnificent weekend. It has to be us.

Chris :Sunderland!”

We’ve come this far, we might as well win it now.

Duncan Watmore during victory against Newcastle United U21’s in the Checkatrade trophy.
Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Sunderland’s Player of the Year?

Jake: “Jon McLaughlin!”

Matthew Clarke at Portsmouth to be League One player of the year.

Mark: “Jon McLaughlin!”

He has saved us on numerous occasions. Quality keeper.

Gav: “Jon McLaughlin!”

Big Jon McLaughlin has made a world of difference to our team and has pulled off some incredible saves for us. What a difference to have a capable goalkeeper between the sticks! Definitely the player of the year (so far!).

Craig: “Jon McLaughlin or Luke O’Nien!”

For different reasons I’d have to say McLaughlin or O’Nien, but a little too early to say for certain.

Tom: “Jon McLaughlin!”

Too early to say, but Jon McLaughlin’s steadiness between the sticks has really helped the side to find points this season.

Chris: “Jon McLaughlin!”

It’s been funny watching Lee Camp from afar this season at Birmingham, but it keeps making me think what could have been with a decent keeper between the sticks last year. We’ve got a class act there now and it makes a huge difference. Someone will have to do very well beat him to player of the year this season.


Story to Unfold?

Jake: “An old friend will haunt us...”

James Vaughan to bag at least 10 for Portsmouth.

Gav: “Pace will boost our attack!”

I would love to see Watmore continue to improve and become a focal point in the first team, showing everyone what a talent he is. Look out for Sterling too, who looks raw but could end up adding a lot to our attacking options.

Craig: “Knowing Sunderland it’ll be something bad!”

With Sunderland’s luck anything is likely. Juan Sartori becomes president of Uruguay. Stewart Donald takes over Brexit negotiations. Grigg to do his cruciate ligament in game one. I’d like to see Grigg bring the best out of Wyke and fire us to promotion, with Morgan and Watmore providing the width and pace.

Tom: “Sterling - a diamond in the rough!”

Knowing Sunderland there will likely be another twist somewhere along the way. I have a feeling young Sterling might be a rough diamond, a few more appearances and I think he could well show his quality.

Chris: “Kaz to shine!”

With how highly rated Sterling appears to be at Spurs, I expect him to play more games than people expect and I’ve got a feeling he could do very well. If Wyke gets the games he should improve a lot, but I suspect he might not get a decent run in the side when Grigg and Sterling get going.