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Roker Report Score Predictions: Sunderland v Bristol Rovers

What do you reckon the score will be when Sunderland take on Bristol Rovers in the first League One game of the season?

Sunderland v Aston Villa U21: EFL Trophy Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Last time out everyone but Will picked up a point by predicting a Sunderland win but surprisingly nobody picked out the 8-1 victory to claim all three points.

Nobody managed to pick out the first goalscorer with Martin falling into the EFL Trophy pitfall by managing to pick out a player who didn’t make the matchday squad.

That means overall Matthew keeps his two point lead at the top and we’re still waiting for Will to break his duck and get off the mark!

Who will pick up points this week as the serious business of League One football finally returns to the Stadium of Light with the visit of Bristol Rovers - don’t forget to let us know your predictions!

Philip Butler predicts...

Scoreline: Sunderland 2 - 0 Bristol Rovers

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Bailey Wright

In my view, the first week of Sunderland’s season has gone almost perfectly. A good performance against fellow League One promotion hopefuls Hull City last weekend ended without the need for more games to be played in a competition we have no chance of winning.

Then, in Sunderland’s main cup competition an 8-1 victory is always a positive no matter the quality (or age) of the opposition; especially with Parkinson making ten changes to his first choice side.

Looking forward to the start of League One, I think the fact that Sunderland’s first team is mostly the same as it was last seasons gives them an advantage over teams, such as Bristol Rovers, who have had a large amount of turnover in their squads.

With that, and Sunderland’s strong performances this week, in mind I fancy an opening day victory with Sunderland’s strong defensive record from last season to continue in a two-nil victory. After the first three goals on Tuesday night were headers from corners, there seems a reasonable opportunity for Bailey Wright to get his first goal for the club.

Sunderland v Hull City - Carabao Cup First Round
Bailey Wright
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Malcolm Dugdale predicts...

Scoreline: Sunderland 3 - 0 Bristol Rovers

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Will Grigg

After a very convincing win versus the youngsters from Brum, I am predicting high confidence in the team and hence a clean sheet, and a 3-0 win. Bristol away last season was a real low point for me and us all, and we need to make things good with a ripping start this time out.

I am also predicting that Grigg will be back in the attacking line and scoring first. He clicked well with O’Brien Vs Hull, with 2 goals that could well have stood but didn’t. I think he will potentially play in a front 2 with O’Brien again, although there is some risk in that prediction given the fact that Wyke scored 2 in the Villa cup tie. From the comments made by Parkinson post the Hull penalties loss, I am of the view that Parkinson is backing Grigg to come good this season. Hopefully that comes off, and he can pay back some of the cost we incurred for him to join us, ideally with at least 15-20 net-bulgers this season, starting on Saturday. If he has dry spells which all strikers do, then we have emerging options, and hopefully we will sign more soon too.

Reflecting on the Villa game, although it was against young lads, the very changed side have done what I really wanted them to do - give Parky positive problems. Apart from the avoidable penalty the alternate back line were solid, and contributed at attacking set pieces too. The midfield were creative, combative and hardworking, and the range of goal scorers demonstrates that against inferior sides, we can be clinical and really punish teams. It really could have been 10+ from the match commentary I listened to from 25 mins in. Not nice for the Villa kids, but our kids get that type of result more than they should, and it's all about them learning, as Benno accurately said in commentary.

Let’s hope the Villa U21 result was not like the 5-0 Tranmere one last season, which was a great flash followed by a very empty pan.

Good luck for the season lads, lets start on the front foot and stay there. I want to see Will smiling, and others too....

Coventry City v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Will Grigg - Will he or wont he this season? We hope he does....
Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Matthew Foster predicts...

Scoreline: Sunderland 3 - 0 Bristol Rovers

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Jordan Willis

Whilst it may have been against U21’s in a naff competition, to score eight like we did on Tuesday was incredible. We were ruthless in front of goal, didn’t rest on our laurels, and end up giving the Villa young’uns an absolute pasting.

Now with those games out the way, we turn to our first game of the new League One season, and it comes against the opposition we unknowingly ended our 2019/20 season back in March.

The scorer of both goals on that abysmal Tuesday night in the South-West (Johnson Clarke-Harris) has since left Bristol Rovers to join Peterborough, and losing their main man up top is likely to have a huge impact on ‘The Gas’ this season.

Plenty of players gave good accounts of themselves on Tuesday, so it’s hard to figure out who Parkinson will start against Bristol Rovers, but Josh Scowen should be a definite. Having bagged three assists and a goal to boot, it would be criminal to drop him.

I would take any type of win to get us off the mark, but with confidence brimming after Tuesday, I’ll go with a 3-0 win. A little left field with my FGS, but if Scowen starts and continues pinging in corners like he was on Tuesday, I can see Willis getting on the end of one of them

Sunderland v Hull City - Carabao Cup First Round
Jordan Willis
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Jack Howe-gingell predicts...

Scoreline: Sunderland 2 - 0 Bristol Rovers

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Chris Maguire

Exciting to have the season back underway but it’s a little bittersweet with not being able to watch it live from the Stadium of Light.

As far as Bristol Rovers go, they lost last seasons talisman striker Jonson Clarke-Harris after he joined Peterborough in a deal worth around £1.25 million, who often seemed to be only threat in previous games. That has to have an impact, as they don’t appear to have replaced him with anyone of particular note.

Their pre-season has been mixed with losses to League Two’s Forest Green Rovers and Cardiff City, one draw and three wins. Notably, Clarke-Harris was their top scorer over these games. They were defeated comfortably by our potential promotion rivals Ipswich 3-0 in the EFL Cup, and only managed a 2-2 draw with League Two Walsall in the EFL Trophy - hardly sparkling results.

You’d have to think if Ipswich beat them easily last Saturday, we should have that aim as well.

We have played well in pre-season, and although we lost on penalties to Hull, there were positive signs. The whole side will have also gained a confidence boost with the mauling of Aston Villa’s reserves on Tuesday.

We need to get off to the best possible start with a tough series of games to follow. 2-0 seems about right, but if we’re on song, I could see a cricket score.

Sunderland v Harrogate Town - Pre-Season Friendly
Josh Scowen
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Will Jones predicts...

Scoreline: Sunderland 2 - 0 Bristol Rovers

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Chris Maguire

Having witnessed a great start against Hull, there was an opportunity to be 4-0 up very early on. The difference between us as a top 6 and a top 2 will be how clinical we can be in front of goal.

The change in our system allowed us to break down a team and progress far into the final third with pace and really force the opposition defence into making errors. Even though we didn’t have that final finish (those that weren’t disallowed) I feel progress has been made, and we have multiple systems available to us.

A lot of these players will remember the fact that their performance and result in this fixture last year was the cause of finishing below the playoff places and should come out with the bit between our teeth. Rovers loss of marksman Jonson Clarke-Harris will also be a blow, and one we should see as a way to push on and win by a good margin to start the season off.

We haven’t conceded many since the start of pre-season and I will expect our defence to keep putting in solid performances against teams who shouldn’t be there or thereabouts. I expect to be 2 up by half time and then to be able to see it out until the final whistle.

Sunderland v Hull City - Carabao Cup First Round
Chris Maguire
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Martin Wanless predicts...

Scoreline: Sunderland 3 - 0 Bristol Rovers

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Aiden O’Brien

I looked at the Hull game last weekend as a free hit, a chance for Parkinson to test out his first choice XI and iron out any creases for the opening league game. On face value, despite the lack of cutting edge, it was an impressive performance against the Tigers, and on another day we could have been four up at half time.

Despite being goalless, the strike force of Grigg and O’Brien impressed, and I live in eternal hope they’ll provide the goals for us this season, supplemented of course by the second coming of Danny Graham, and the enigma that is Charlie Wyke.

And if the signs from the game against Villa’s kids on Tuesday is anything to go by, I could be correct.

Sunderland v Hull City - Carabao Cup First Round
O’Brien’s touch and link up play impressed me greatly against Hull City.
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

That ruthless performance following on from the Hull game gives me a lot of confidence heading into our first league fixture of the campaign, ironically against the team we prematurely ended the season against in March.

I’d be lying if I said I had a great deal of insight about how Rovers will do this time around, but in all reality that’s irrelevant. We need to go up, and while not technically a must-win game, it’s a very-important-to-win game.

I’m going for a comfortable 3-0 win – an O’Brien opener, and Grigg also notching to – finally – ignite his Sunderland career.

Hope, does indeed, spring eternal.

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