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Roker Report Score Predictions: Oldham Athletic v Sunderland

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After a second successive round where our panel failed to pick up points through backing them for a win, will they still back a Sunderland win at Oldham Athletic?

Oldham Athletic v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One - SportsDirect.com Park Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

For a second successive round of predictions we have a failure to collect a single point from our panel. So, no points and no change to our table, meaning it’s still tight as it was and with the right results Martin and Matthew could leap from bottom to top by the end of tonight’s game.

Let’s find out what our panel go for in this round of predictions...


Philip Butler predicts...

Score Prediction: Oldham Athletic 0 - 3 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Elliot Embleton

Lee Johnson will have been manager for about twenty times longer as the game kicks off tonight at Boundary Park than he was at 3pm Saturday afternoon, when his new side lined up to face bottom of the table Wigan Athletic.

For my prediction to come in, it will take a performance that is at least twenty times better than Saturday’s if my prediction is to come in.

It may take a while for Sunderland’s players to get to complete grips with his formation, but I think it’ll be goals at both ends in the meantime rather than bore draws and one-nil defeats like Phil Parkinson’s first few weeks in the job.

Sunderland’s attack was completely impotent on Saturday and I’d be surprised if Embleton isn’t given a start ahead of at least one of the three forwards who started on Saturday afternoon. Hopefully he can repay his manager’s faith with a goal.

Fleetwood Town v Sunderland - EFL Trophy
Elliot Embleton
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Malcolm Dugdale predicts...

Score Prediction: Oldham Athletic 1 - 2 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Will Grigg

While this Papa John trophy tie would normally be a bit of a non-event in a very busy December, the timing of the Oldham tie means all eyes will be on the new manager and his side as we look for clues on what direction we might take moving forward.

I think he will stick with Grigg up top as we have very little else to go with given the injuries to Wyke, O’Brien and Kimpioka, though he may give another opportunity to the Graham/Grigg partnership up top. Hopefully that may provide more fire power to convert chances into goals than a lone striker did versus Wigan - who I still can’t believe we lost to.

I really think we should rest Bailey Wright and see what options we have for a central pair at the back without him. His form has clearly dipped at the moment and we need to find the best two for our back four, and if that isn’t Bailey then let’s see who it is. We can’t carry any players going into this mad busy period.

I’d also like to see more of the kids getting minutes on the pitch for this EFL Trophy game, hopefully the coach can start to see some promising partnerships emerging and we can build on those.

This isn’t the end of the world if we lose it, but as a minimum we need to use this as a spring board for Lincoln this weekend. If Johnson loses his first two going into that, he is going to have a challenging festive period ahead, even more so than he thought when he took the job.

Sunderland v Burton Albion - Sky Bet League One
Will Grigg hits the post against Burton Albion
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Matthew Foster predicts...

Score Prediction: Oldham Athletic 0 - 1 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Elliot Embleton

It was evident after Saturday’s defeat, that Lee Johnson’s task is an unenviable one, but hearing him speak in his first interview, and then post-match, it did give me some assurance that he is at least the right character to have in charge.

It was an honest assessment, and a refreshing change to Parkinson’s acceptance of mediocrity.

Tonight’s Pepperoni Pizza Trophy is a perfect chance for Lee to gauge a better understanding of the whole squad, with the likelihood he will make changes, with perhaps a mix of youth and “experience”, and try out the hungry younger lads that can give us a little bit extra energy going forward.

Parkinson failed on his promise to give the likes of Neil, Diamond and Embleton a fair chance, which is something Johnson will be keen to do, and use everything at his disposal to get Sunderland firing on all cylinders.

Harry Kewell’s Oldham are at the lower reaches of the League Two table, but have performed well in this poxy competition, beating Doncaster en-route to top spot. But I see us scrapping our way through to give Johnson his first victory in his new job, at the expense of his former employers.

Sunderland v Burton Albion - Sky Bet League One
Elliot Embleton
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Jack Howe-Gingell predicts...

Score Prediction: Oldham Athletic 0 - 2 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Jack Diamond

A nothing game in my eyes, and hopefully Johnson will take the chance to run the rule over the squad and young players he has inherited.

Oldham sit in lower midtable, and have the dubious honour of conceding the most goals in League Two, alongside rock bottom Southend. They have countered this with a healthy 23 goals, however, so there may be attacking intent with a leaky back line on show.

Sunderland need to bounce back after a dreadful run of performances, including just one point from two sides in the relegation zone and a dismal cup exit to Mansfield.

Hopefully, we’ll give it a go and get a few goals. I’m not honestly bothered about this competition but a win really is needed to stop the rot. I’ll go for Diamond to open the scoring, in a game hopefully with a bit more liveliness going forward.

Fleetwood Town v Sunderland - EFL Trophy
Jack Diamond
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Will Jones predicts...

Score Prediction: Oldham Athletic 1 - 2 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Will Grigg

Lee Johnson will have had a meagre one day training the lads going into his second game in the dugout.

Following the dire performance against Wigan, Johnson did not look for excuses but for resolutions. He knows what we are lacking, he knows what he wants and he believes he can get it.

This is the absolute perfect game for him to try out players he believes he wants to play week in week out. Play it like a training match, get the minutes and learn as much as you can from the squad.

I don’t think this will be a “rotated” side, as Johnson will want to see what he has, however having seen the loss of the five at the back as soon as he came in, the players will not be used to any change and may take some time to get used to it.

I believe he will look, as he said, to stretch the game and use our ability to drive and put the opposition under pressure. If he does this, it may help the lads have an edge against teams who just sit back, and force them into mistakes we wouldn’t have previously when we sat and let them defend.

I believe we will win (just) and Johnson will hopefully come out with a better idea of his team this weekend.

Sunderland v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet League One
Lee Johnson
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Martin Wanless predicts...

Score Prediction: Oldham Athletic 1 - 3 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Elliot Embleton

Another game, another one in which I haven’t got a clue which way it’s going to go. So many variables. What sort of team will Johnson pick? Will he go with a relatively first choice XI in a ‘free hit’ to get his ideas across in a competitive game, or will he go with a team of fringe players to take a look at what they’re capable of?

I suspect it’ll be a combination of the two, although injuries have left us short in both full back positions, so it’ll be interesting to see what he does in that regard.

I’m going for a 3-1 victory, with Embleton getting the opening goal of Johnson’s reign. Here’s hoping.