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Roker Report Score Predictions: Rochdale v Sunderland

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After suffering our first defeat of the season against Portsmouth will our panel back Phil Parkinson’s side to bounce straight back?!

Rochdale v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Tim Markland/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It’s musical chairs in mid-table in our prediction table, as the only two to remain in their positions are Jack at the top and Will at the foot of the table. Malcolm and Martin successfully predicted that Charlie Wyke would score Sunderland’s opening goal and move up a position, with Phil and Matthew dropping a place.

Will is still desperate for points at the bottom as he’s in danger of losing touch with the rest and Jack has had his lead cut at the top again so will be eager to get back on track in this round of predictions...


Philip Butler predicts...

Score Prediction: Rochdale 0 - 0 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: No goalscorer

After Sunderland put in their worst performance of the season by some way against Portsmouth on Saturday, Phil Parkinson will be looking to bounce back with a win against a Rochdale side much improved from last season.

However, just as a poor home performance in March against Gillingham was followed up by an even worse one against Bristol Rovers, I can see Sunderland struggling once again.

One thing that is likely is that the defence will be much more solid than on Saturday and I'm expecting Sunderland's already poor goalscoring record to continue the trend.

Sunderland v Portsmouth - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Malcolm Dugdale predicts...

Score Prediction: Rochdale 0 - 1 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Danny Graham

After a very disappointing home loss to Portsmouth we need to get back to winning ways. We also need to get back to solid defending and keeping possession to control games, along with the work rate we have shown so often already this season.

If I was Parky, the lads wouldn’t have got any time off on Sunday, though the result was as much the manager’s fault as it was the players’. The pretty simple strategy was worked out by Pompey, hence we were out pressed, out run and outclassed resulting in conceding three goals.

Hopefully the defence has been drilled to learn from what we did wrong. We need the energy and determination back in the side, as well as finding the shooting boots we lacked in the games before our first defeat.

We are still one of only two sides (the other being Lincoln) to lose once in League One to date. Let’s retain that and make Pompey a blip not a turning point.

If we don’t rotate some players after that result, we never will. If you’ve got a plan B Phil let’s see it, as it failed to emerge on Saturday when we went 2-1 down. I am one of many who aren’t sure you have one at all.

Charlton Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Danny Graham
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Matthew Foster predicts...

Score Prediction: Rochdale 0 - 2 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Chris Maguire

Saturday’s result was disappointing to say the least. With confidence high I thought at worst we would at least take a point, but fair play to Portsmouth, who were the better team and deserved the three points.

But with every setback we get this season, we simply can’t sit and feel sorry for ourselves. We need to show – in the words of Iain Dowie – some ‘bouncebackability’, to keep ourselves up there come the end of the season. And what better way of putting a defeat behind you than winning a mere three days later.

Rochdale are a side unlikely to trouble the top half this season, and the shock departure of regular top scorer Ian Henderson is likely to be a difficult gap to fill.

Despite winning their last two games they haven’t faired well against stronger opposition so far, which eases my worries slightly.

Irrespective of O’Nien’s sending off, I’d have been very surprised to see Parky stick with the same back line going into this one, and suspect we’ll revert back to the tried-and-tested Flanagan, Wright and Willis, and get ourselves back to winning ways at the Crown Oil Arena.

Sunderland v Carlisle United: EFL Trophy
Chris Maguire
Photo by Robert Smith/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Jack Howe-Gingell predicts...

Score Prediction: Rochdale 0 - 2 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Lynden Gooch

Well, after a massively disappointing performance against Portsmouth, I’d expect us to bounce back with a win. We seem to have the same problem that has plagued our League One run where we struggle when we come across anyone of note. But Rochdale simply don’t fit in that bracket.

Despite this, they do have creditable wins over Fleetwood and Burton, who are no mugs at this level – we will need to be professional and avoid complacency.

The home defeat to Pompey was the first time we have looked unsteady at the back, despite a number of makeshift line-ups over the last few games. Jordan Willis looked unfit and out of form, as well as Luke O’Nien showing his deficiencies as a centre half. His suspension will likely allow for the return of Tom Flanagan, which will be a solid boost.

I’d like to see Gooch moved back into an attacking role. He’s been solid at wing back but he is wasted there, particularly when new loan man Dion Sanderson can play there, or Jack Diamond can do a solid job.

I feel like Maguire needs taking out of the side after a woeful outing against Portsmouth, hence my backing of Gooch to score first. Parkinson also needs to wake up and give us better options, including the bench – ensure Diamond, Neil and Kimpioka are there, we need something different.

All in all, we’ll likely win fairly comfortably but the manner of the win will show if any lessons have been learned.

Sunderland v Portsmouth - Sky Bet League 1
Lynden Gooch
Photo by Robert Smith/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Will Jones predicts...

Score Prediction: Rochdale 0 - 3 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Chris Maguire

After an extremely disappointing weekend, we need to come back fighting, and show some firepower and desire. This is the perfect chance.

We looked off the boil on Saturday, but today we should have our normal back three together, bar Gooch at right wing-back, and elsewhere we should be fielding our strongest XI, although O’Nien’s work rate will be a big loss.

Rochdale is a game we should be winning comfortably and is – on paper – the perfect fixture to bounce back from the defeat to Portsmouth.

Although Saturday was disappointing, it shows we can’t win every game this season 1-0. I’m hoping we hit Rochdale with some firepower. We need to batter someone and it can’t come soon enough.

Swindon Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Martin Wanless predicts...

Score Prediction: Rochdale 1-2 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke

Saturday’s defeat was disappointing on many fronts, and in some respects we’re fortunate to have another fixture following so quickly. There were many shortcomings on Saturday, and how we approach this game – and the outcome we’ll get – could define our season, and ultimately Parkinson’s spell in charge.

Personally, I want there to be changes. I’ll keep banging the ‘Will Grigg needs to be given an extended run in the side’ drum until he departs the club, and I’d love to see the ineffectual Power moved out of the side in favour of someone with a bit more guile (Dan Neil, perhaps). But none of that will happen.

Would anyone be surprised if – bar the enforced Flanagan in for O’Nien swap – Parkinson sticks with the same team? I suspect he’ll view Saturday as a bump, and one that doesn’t warrant mass change.

So, I’d imagine Wyke will retain his place – with two and a half goals in his last three games – he’s done OK from a goalscoring perspective, and I’ll go for him to get an opener on Tuesday night.

Rochdale will be dangerous though, they’ve got some decent victories this season, and it’ll be a test of character; which I think we’ll pass. It’ll be unconvincing though, and I don’t envisage it providing many long-term answers. 2-1.

Sunderland v Portsmouth - Sky Bet League One
Charlie Wyke scores for Sunderland against Portsmouth
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images