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Roker Report Score Predictions: Sunderland v Aston Villa U21s

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It’s a stab in the dark as our panel must decide how highly to rate an opposition they know nothing about and guess if Phil Parkinson will use it an opportunity to field a rotated team - let us know what you think of their predictions!

Portsmouth v Sunderland - Checkatrade Trophy Final Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Only one of panel picked up points at the weekend and that was Matthew Foster, who got a point for correctly predicting it would end in a draw, and we threw him another point for correctly guessing that inevitably Hull City would win the proceeding shoot-out.

This week we’re testing the lads’ knowledge of the Aston Villa Academy set-up, as our panel provide their predictions for Sunderland v Aston Villa U21s in the opening group game of the EFL Trophy...


Philip Butler predicts...

Scoreline: Sunderland 3 - 1 Aston Villa U21s

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Jack Diamond

Much like Saturday’s game against Hull City, I see Sunderland’s second cup game of the week as their final preseason friendly. However, whereas Saturday’s opponents were League One rivals, Tuesdays game sees us go up against a group of teenagers.

For that reason alone, I think Sunderland’s physicality will lead to a comfortable victory, and with a young team likely to be fielded by Phil Parkinson, Jack Diamond will be keen to stake a claim to play a part in the first league game of the season against Bristol Rovers.

Gateshead v Sunderland: Pre-Season Friendly
Jack Diamond
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Malcolm Dugdale predicts...

Scoreline: Sunderland 3 - 0 Aston Villa U21s

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Dan Neil

Another game where the result should be a formality, hence I am forecasting a comprehensive win for the lads. That is my expectation (and arguably that of all Lads fans) no matter who crosses the chalk.

There is a strong chance of significant changes in the team compared to the Hull cup game. That said, this is the last game before the proper season starts, so the gaffer may use this to make final decisions about the first team to start versus Bristol, but who knows.

I’d love to see this “nothing rubber” used as another pre-season experimentation session, hence the goal scorer I’ve gone with is young Neil. He has very much impressed in pre-season games with his precise passing and at least one assist, but I think he is likely to start this one as a young player with lots to show the management. Bit of a punt, but if you don’t try these things in games like this one, you never will.

I care more about this result than Hull to be honest, as confidence before the league starting is useful. However, let’s be honest the sooner we are out of these nothing trophies and focused on League One the better.

Middlesbrough v Sunderland - Premier League 2
Dan Neil
Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Matthew Foster predicts...

Scoreline: Sunderland 2 - 0 Aston Villa U21s

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Jack Diamond

I hold about as much enthusiasm for being involved in this competition, as simultaneously rubbing chilli in my eyes and walking over Lego barefoot. The fact we’re facing another sides U21’s, is a stark reminder of where we are, and why we need to get out of League One as soon as possible.

I won’t pretend to know a great deal about Villa’s young’uns, but this is a game we should realistically be winning regardless.

I would imagine there will be wholesale changes to the side that faced Hull and hopefully some of the younger lads will get a chance to show us what they got.

Irrespective of the starting XI, I can see a win for the lads before we commence our third (and hopefully last) season in League One against Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

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

Jack Howe-gingell predicts...

Scoreline: Sunderland 2 - 0 Aston Villa U21s

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Josh Scowen

I have to question why this competition is going ahead, considering you’d have thought they would want to reduce fixture congestion. I’ve never been a fan of it, though winning breeds confidence if we must.

I’d expect a changed eleven from our penalty defeat to Hull at the weekend. Hopefully the likes of Diamond and Neil will get a chance to a shine, and I expect Parkinson will treat this as another pre-season game ahead of Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

We may also see the debut of Arbenit “Arby” Xhemajli, who can hopefully add to his promising start as a triallist against Gateshead. I’d like to see Grigg start again, and get a goal - he played well last time out and needs to banish the poor penalty.

I don’t know much about Villa’s young players other than Louie Barry who signed for £1M from Barcelona. They could be be amazing or complete garbage, time will tell on that one.

Overall, I’d like to think our pros should have too much for a team of young lads, though last season didn’t pan out that way!

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

Will Jones predicts...

Scoreline: Sunderland 1 - 1 Aston Villa U21s (Sunderland to win on penalties)

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Aiden O’Brien

I feel that this will be a heavily rotated side, looking to not take any knocks going into the first game of the season.

Parkinson will be looking to maximise fitness all around to players like Feeney, Diamond and Neil in case they are needed to be called upon early in the season. These players will be given a chance to impress and really standout here.

Still unsure on our ability to take a game by the scruff of the neck and win dominantly. Hoping to be proven wrong. We shall see.

Sunderland v Hull City - Carabao Cup First Round
Aiden O'Brien
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Martin Wanless predicts...

Scoreline: Sunderland 3 - 0 Aston Villa U21s

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Will Grigg

Joy. Another embarrassing outing in this ridiculous competition, which never fails to deliver a huge dollop of harsh reality with every fixture.

Still, it’s our last game before the season begins, and one which should see us stroll to victory ahead of the league action starting.

Hopefully youngsters such as Embleton, Neil and Diamond get the full 90 and put in impressive displays - I believe they could, and should, be crucial for us this season.

A good victory to give us confidence ahead of Saturday please - and a morale-lifting Grigg double.

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