For a second successive round it’s as we were in our table, as once again our panel fail to pick up a single point through backing Sunderland to claim all three points at Northampton Town.
Big predictions were made, especially from Will and Malc, backing Sunderland for a convincing away win but once again were left disappointed as Lee Johnson’s side played out a goalless draw.
Will our panel once again back Sunderland for all three points as we host second placed Hull City? Let’s find out what they go for in this round of predictions...
Philip Butler predicts...
Score Prediction: Sunderland 2 - 2 Hull City
Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Max Power
On paper, tonight’s visit of Hull City should be one of the stiffest tests that Lee Johnson’s side have faced since the former Bristol City boss took over at the Stadium of Light before Christmas. However, given the performances we have seen so far it could be argued that tonight’s opponents will suit Sunderland rather better than Northampton Town did last weekend.
With that in mind, I don’t fancy a low scoring game with Hull likely to see the game as a good opportunity to get one over on play off rivals Sunderland whilst the new manager is still bedding in. The Tigers are a good side at League One level, and I think a draw could be on the cards, and it surely can’t be any less entertaining than last weekend’s trip to Northampton.
As for goalscorers, Lee Johnson now plays with genuine wingers meaning that those two players are slightly less likely to get on the scoresheet than when Maguire and Gooch operated in central areas at the end of last season. However, this has allowed the two central midfield players to get forward more -so I’m backing this tactic to pay off with a goal from Steven Gerrard wannabee Max Power.
Malcolm Dugdale predicts...
Score Prediction: Sunderland 2 - 1 Hull City
Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke
While this game is by no means the end of our promotion hopes if it is lost, it is one of those statement “six-pointers” that come around every so often. This one has come around sooner than we thought, after the deferral from Boxing Day was rescheduled with allegedly the initiative of both clubs to use a free weekend. While I think this will be a tough game I am predicting the course of events will be closer to the Lincoln game than the Northampton one, as like us, Hull should be less likely to “park the bus”.
In front of Burge, I am hopeful that Sanderson retains his place in some way after his MotM performance last time out, albeit out of position in a dour game. Fitness permitting I would go back to McFadzean, Wright, McLaughlin and Sanderson, ideally that order from left to right of our defence. I’d also like to see more intent from the full-backs to get forward, which these two can offer, and Flanagan was the least effective last weekend hence he needs rotating out if we have options.
We need to see much more control, attacking intent and creativity from midfield, and if we can see the Sincil Bank Scowen rather than the one down at the Cobblers, that would be welcome. Maybe we can try Embleton in that role, as we should be able to hold our own against our old mate Honeyman and his pals if we play our game, and do it well. Hull don’t often draw, so we need to take them on at our pace and with our tactics, or we may well suffer another home loss.
Up front I can’t see Wyke being dropped from the starting XI, but we need forward thinking and options. I’d like to see more from Gooch, Maguire, McGeady, Diamond and even Mitch Curry if possible. This game could well see us concede, so we need to have a starting team and a bench to out-score them, and possibly recover to come from behind. This could be last chance saloon for Graham and others, so if they feature they need to impress.
Should we lose, and we don’t play well, I think it will be the last chance for some players to be part of Johnson’s long term plans. While the season isn’t over if we leave empty handed, with the transfer window in flow, the SAFC career of some squad members could be done if we don’t celebrate a victory live on Sky this Saturday night.
Matthew Foster predicts...
Score Prediction: Sunderland 1 - 1 Hull City
Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Jack Diamond
My expectation that the squad suffered a bit of a hangover from the enforced break at Northampton was correct, and I can’t say I was surprised by the goalless draw. It’s a shame we couldn’t find one opening to sneak a 1-0 but it wasn’t meant to be.
Next opponents are Hull, and it seems like a lifetime ago since we faced them in the Carabao Cup. I felt I had perhaps overestimated how strong they were after that meeting, but they’ve had a good start, and look strong in the chase for promotion.
I’m not feeling confident going into this. Whether that is down to the strength of Hull, I don’t know. But we’re at the point where points become ever more crucial, and that’s huge pressure to face when the front-runner’s are starting to fade in the distance.
I think we’ll do well to achieve a place in the play-off’s at this stage. But even that could be a step too far if we keep dropping points.
Out of the sheer wish to not put a loss, I’m going for a draw. But prove me wrong Sunderland, prove me wrong!
Jack Howe-Gingell predicts...
Score Prediction: Sunderland 1 - 0 Hull City
Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Aiden McGeady
A hastily rearranged fixture and here I was thinking I’d have a week off failing to predict anything to do with Sunderland’s fortunes.
Hull come into this one with a win under their belts, courtesy of a victory over Charlton, but this was preceded by four games without a win so it could be a could time to play them. Two of those games were losses as well, so the Hull side that started positively have stuttered of late.
Malik Wilks is a key man for them with nine goals in the league, and the whole team have done a decent job backing him up, providing 22 goals between them. George Honeyman is the man with the keys, with eight assists this season and his usual exuberant style of football will be a test.
Elsewhere, Hull have quality and we will need to play well to get something. Josh Magennis is no slouch in front of goal, as well as young starlet Keane Lewis-Potter, who have ten goals between them. If that doesn’t work, they can mix it up in the form of Goliath-inspired Tom Eaves.
Sunderland’s last outing was a desperately languid affair against struggling Northampton, with our usual deficiencies on show. That said, I feel Hull will come at us and that will suit us better, very much in the vein of the Lincoln game. One thing that must change is Charlie Wyke’s performance - he is the only forward we have who seems capable of scoring goals, but he was an utter shambles last time. Step it up.
Overall, I think we can pinch a result, likely with a counter attack. I’ll go for McGeady to score, and send us home happy.
Will Jones predicts...
Score Prediction: Sunderland 2 - 0 Hull City
Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Chris Maguire
With some training and some recovery time between games, this impromptu fixture with a Hull side that recently returned to winning ways, is maybe just the type of challenge we need.
Any game in this division is winnable. That’s blatantly obvious from the random results we see on a weekly basis. We need a game like we did against Lincoln, and one in which we are not heavily relied upon to have a vast amount of possession.
It’s gonna be tight and scrappy, but if we can dominate with Parky as boss, we should do so again here. I believe we can push on, have another top defensive performance and finish it with some goals.
Martin Wanless predicts...
Score Prediction: Sunderland 1 - 2 Hull City
Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke
This backing Sunderland lark is getting rather frustrating now! I thought we were nailed on for a win over Northampton, but it was not to be. This hastily-arranged fixture against Hull City will certainly be a big test for Lee Johnson and his team.
While there’s been a multitude of mitigating factors, the form since Parkinson left – bar the one obvious exception – has been dire (one win in six) and there wasn’t much positivity all to take from Saturday’s game.
Of course, I desperately hope we win, but without a striker worth their salt we’re going to struggle. Because of this, I’m going for a triumphant return to the SoL for Mr Seven out of Ten, and a narrow victory for the Tigers.