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Roker Riches: Happy New Year!

After football being postponed since the 1-1 draw to Wimbledon (which featured a much-changed side due to Covid infections beginning to hit the first XI), we return to action against Northampton Town at their gaff. Can we pick back up where we left off at Sincil Bank?

Roker Riches 20/21

Well, here we are in a new year!

Happy 2021 from us here at Roker Report to all SAFC fans, be they locals or the thousands of Mackem exiles around the UK and the world. Let's hope the year to come can be good for all, including SAFC, its fans and its new management/coaching team, as well as the soon-to-be new owner, assuming the EFL sign off on the proposal communicated on Christmas Eve.

What a breath of air that was in a very trying time for red and white families as we approached the big day.

While it is an absolute pleasure to say farewell to 2020, as we all know the lads haven’t been able to play through the hectic festive schedule, nor indeed stay in touch with the top six due to a Covid 19 outbreak among the SAFC collective.

Many including myself suggested the game against Wimbledon should have been cancelled, but a much-changed XI (missing no less than eight of the squad who thumped Lincoln the weekend prior) managed to get us a point against the Dons.

Sunderland v AFC Wimbledon - Sky Bet League One Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

As I write, we are sitting 11th in the league on 28 points from 17 games. Only Accrington Stanley are above us in the table on fewer games played – an issue compounded by the fact our game against Stanley a few days ago was deferred due to SAFC not yet being sufficiently through the Coronavirus outbreak to field a team.

This week, we travel to Sixfields Stadium to return to action against ‘The Cobblers’, who have had a challenging early season and who sit 19th in League One on 21 points, albeit from three more games than the lads.

After shipping eight goals in two games versus Lincoln (home) and Oxford (away), Northampton – who are new to League One this season – played out a decent win at home to Gillingham last time out, winning 3-1 on Tuesday evening after being 2-1 up after 45 mins.

So, how will the lads fare against a team who will be more match fit and well up for taking on the biggest team in this league, just as they emerge from a Covid outbreak?

Will Lee Johnson’s red and white army resume where they left off away at Sincil Bank, or will the ‘park the bus’ tactics from the League One new boys make it difficult for a Sunderland side lacking in match sharpness to break them down?

As long as the game goes ahead with 30-odd lads healthy enough to play out a good game I think we will have a little too much for the Cobblers, especially if Lee has used the isolation time to embed his tactics and strategies.

The Rolling Table Week #14: Season 2020-2021

Yellow card update...

No yellow cards issued this week... the Roker Riches team are clearly keen as mustard to get back into watching the lads out on the paddock. Hopefully, this will continue and the good behaviour will bring us all a good result.

On results from last time out, there were sadly no winners in the Roker Riches team. Paul Fletcher was among the betters who hit the post with only RB Leipzig letting his European acca down. Unlucky, Fletch.

Let's see how the lads stand before the bets for this game.

Here is the table as it stands before the Northampton game later today:

Banker’s Bonus...

The team are awarded an extra tenner bet this time out, as we battered Lincoln 4-0 in our last Riches related outing.

As is normally the case, no bonus for next week with a freebie for this game... as we write, the already rescheduled Fleetwood game for next weekend has been deferred by the opponents due to Covid in their camp, so who knows who or if we will be playing!

This week’s bets:

Matty Crichton says...

Aiden McGeady to score anytime and Sunderland to win 3-0: Maybe I am being overconfident... but in our last away game we beat the league leaders 4-0, so let the goal scoring continue! £5 returns £95.

English Treble: I really am due a win on one of these predictions so I will try and play it safer... Spurs to beat Leeds, Brentford to beat Bristol City and Oxford to beat Burton! £5 returns £28.33.

Banker’s Bonus: I am going to combine the four teams I have backed above and select a goal scorer from each to score at any time. As a fourfold I am backing: Harry Kane, Ivan Toney, Matt Taylor and Grant Leadbitter (penalty taker) all to score! £10 returns £219.55.

Sunderland Training Session
Matty’s backing McGeady to score today
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Gary Morris says...

Sunderland to beat Northampton 3-0: I fancy the lads to get three away to The Cobblers, and to keep a clean sheet in the act. This returns £60 for a fiver investment at odds of 11-1 on Bet 365.

5-fold acca, Premier League and League One: I think all of the following will win this weekend, so why not chuck a fiver on them and see what comes in? Spurs, Wolves, Arsenal, Lincoln and Sunderland all to win, and with odds of just over 22-1 this brings in £130.51 if it lands. Hopefully so!

Banker’s Bonus: A European 6-bagger, my bonus tenner says all of the following will bring home the win – Real Madrid, Villareal, Inter Milan, Napoli, Borussia M-Gladbach and Borussia Dortmund. These are all pretty likely winners so this only attracts odds of just over 8.5-1, but with the bonus tenner this brings in £109.90 if it romps home.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Gary’s backing Spurs to win this weekend
Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Phil Butler says...

Sunderland to win 2-0: To be honest, I haven’t got a clue how Sunderland will perform this afternoon. Will the break have allowed key players to return from injury and result in an improved performance, or will a few players be struggling with the sluggishness that has been experienced by some who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past? Since there are so many questions, and Sunderland are heavy favourites with the bookies, I’ve gone for a pretty standard 2-0 which provides a decent return from my fiver. £5 returns £37.50.

Saturday 4 Fold: Football is back and it's been a novel change to have something other than Sunderland AFC attempting to spoil the festive period. Matches at this time of year are notoriously hard to predict, so I’ve added another team to my usual treble – go figure! Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Oxford United are my picks from the top three tiers of English Football, with Bayer Leverkusen tagging on the end to spoil my acca by 4:30pm instead of 5 o’clock. £5 returns £69.58.

Banker’s Bonus: Like finding an extra tenner in the pocket of an old jacket, it was a nice surprise to hear I’ve got an extra bet to lose this weekend. Since there's not much else to do other than watch football at the moment, I’ve gone for two picks from Sunday’s games to keep me interested throughout the weekend. Parma and Verona are both better than evens to win against Torino and Spezia. £10 returns £64.40.

Sheffield Wednesday v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship
Phil’s backing Duncan’s Boro side
Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Paul Fletcher says...

Sunderland to win and BTTS: At this point it’s hard to predict if the game will even go ahead. Plus, without knowing who was affected by the COVID outbreak and how seriously they were affected, it’s also hard to predict what team we’ll be able to put out. Whatever happens, I’m really looking forward to watching the lads back in action and am expecting an exciting, open game. £5 returns £17

Double chance sixfold: Draws ruined a lot of my accumulators last year so I’m trying to be more cautious in 2021. Obviously the returns will be much smaller but smaller returns are better than no returns at all. I’m backing Seville, Leverkusen, Preston, Wigan, Oldham and Boreham Wood to all avoid defeat today. £5 returns £40.92

Banker’s Bonus: The Christmas bonus at the end of 2020 for Sunderland fans was the announcement of the Kyril Louis-Dreryus takeover. To celebrate, I’m going for a KLD treble - Kilmarnock, Larne and Dag & Red all to win their home fixtures today. It won’t make me a multi-billionaire but it might get me to a positive balance! £10 returns £66.78

Olympique de Marseille v Paris Saint-Germain - Ligue 1
Paul’s going for a KLD special
Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says...

Sunderland to win 3-0, and Wyke to score first in the game: It may be the happiness that our team is finally running out again making me overly optimistic, but I feel good about the away trip to The Cobblers. They did beat Gillingham last time out at home but before that they shipped 8 goals in 2 games, at home to Lincoln and away to Oxford. We stuffed Lincoln in our last non-Covid hit game, and Lee will have done his homework on how those eight goals came about, so I’m going for a good away win with a clean sheet (the latter is probably the most risky aspect given Johnson’s style of play). Fiver returns £130 with good 25-1 odds on Skybet.

Brexit four-way acca: Topical four way that all of Sevilla, Real Madrid, 1899 Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen get wins. We are out of Europe now, let’s take some money with us. Fiver returns £57.80 on Skybet.

Bankers Bonus - four-fold away acca: I’m backing all of Wolves, Arsenal, Middlesbrough and Oxford to grab three points on the road, against Brighton, West Brom, Wycombe and Burton respectively. Burton and Wycombe are the present whipping boys of their leagues, and I’m hoping Arsenal have too much for Allardyce’s boys to handle with Arteta fighting on for his job. Wolves v Brighton is probably the risky leg. Tenner returns £160.40 on Skybet.

West Bromwich Albion v Leeds United - Premier League
Paul’s expecting Big Sam to come a cropper
Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Danny Roberts says...

Sunderland to win and over 2.5 goals: I think the lads will mark their return to action with a win against Northampton. They played in midweek, so a high tempo attacking display from Sunderland could see us romp to a comfortable victory. £5 returns £21.66.

Premier League Trio: Spurs, Burnley and Crystal Palace all to get three points. £10 returns £82.56.

Banker’s Bonus: Factored into my trio, as I am so confident this will come in....

Crystal Palace v Leicester City - Premier League
Danny’s backing Palace
Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images

Riches Readers’ Random Pick...

Sunderland to win and BTTS - the wise money this week is on the lads, but with Johnson favouring attack over defence, both teams scoring isn’t unlikely.

A shiny twenty on this for the readers (including the Bankers Bonus tenner) brings in £75.00, which in our tight table makes it well worth a go as a random pick.

Sunderland v AFC Wimbledon - Sky Bet League One
The. readers’ bet is on Johnson’s men
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Good luck to SAFC, and to all our betting buddies, and let's hope for a successful 2021 on and of the pitch for all.

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