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Roker Report Score Predictions: Can Sunderland book another trip to Wembley?

It’s written in the stars isn’t it?! Here’s our predictions of how it will go - let us know yours ahead of Sunderland’s semi-final against Lincoln City!

Sunderland v Doncaster Rovers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Last Time Out...

Who would have thought it eh? None of our panel did, and to be fair to them a 4-1 home win considering the form we were in would have been some call.

Jack extends his lead to four at the top after bagging a point for the win and another for calling that Charlie would continue his recent run of form. Everyone else picked up a solitary point for either calling a Sunderland victory or that Wyke would be our first scorer of the afternoon - except Martin that is, who once again drew a blank and is in danger of losing touch at the bottom.

Today’s Game...

After last week’s mixed bag where our six were evenly split between Sunderland winning, losing or claiming a point, we swing once again back to a universal consensus that we’ll have a place in the EFL Trophy final at Wembley.

Only Matthew has shown any sort of doubt as he makes the call that we’ll have a nervy evening by winning on penalties. Sunderland never seem to give us an easy ride, so he might be onto something.

We’ll let our panel explain why they all think Sunderland are on their way to Wembley, in this round of predictions...

Philip Butler Predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 3 - 2 Lincoln City

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Jordan Jones

While History tells me that Sunderland will absolutely not follow up Saturday’s 4-1 win at home to Doncaster with another positive result and performance tonight, there’s something about this club that means I can’t help but back us to progress to the Papa John’s Trophy final.

With a makeshift defence inevitable, Sunderland have five centre-backs unavailable for tonight’s game, predicting goals at both ends of the pitch seems like a pretty safe bet. For that reason, I’m backing Lee Johnson’s side to get another three goals to add to the four they managed on Saturday but against a better Lincoln side and with a poorer defence I’m backing us to concede a couple also.

As for goalscorers, the reshuffle at the back means there’s likely to be at least one change further up the pitch and I think Jordan Jones could get his chance to impress as Lee Johnson plays a blend between his first choice and reserve sides in our second-string competition.

Milton Keynes Dons v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Will Jordan Jones open the scoring tonight?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Malcolm Dugdale Predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 2 - 0 Lincoln City

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke (it would be daft not to...)

While there is a risk of “after the Lord Mayors show” after the 4-1 demolition of Donny, I am quite positive about the cup game this week, despite the second challenging opposition visiting the SOL in under a week.

After last weekend the manager has a formation and starting XI which he knows can really click, assuming that combo is right for another opponents approach to the game. It may not be the shape and staff for all matches, but I do believe the challenge from Lincoln is quite similar to what Doncaster may have offered, given a chance.

In addition to that, Johnson has a number of players pushing for a starting berth who did very well in the last cup round (Dan Neil to name one), so if some of the stars from Saturday need a rest or if the gaffer feels we may do better with others in the starting eleven, then options can be used.

Rather than not be bothered if we exit this cup at the semis, I’d now like us to use Saturday as a spring board for a winning run, both home and away and in all comps. Let’s make all those around us worry about Sunderland coming up in their fixture list. That can only help our cause, and it is the mind set we should have been using for several seasons anyway.

Sunderland v Aston Villa U21: EFL Trophy
Will we see Dan Neil be given another opportunity to impress in the EFL Trophy?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Matthew Foster Predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 2 - 2 Lincoln City

(Sunderland to win on penalties)

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke

Confidence should be brimming going into tonight’s Pizza Trophy, after our Doncaster demolition. And like Saturday, I suspect we will be in for an entertaining match, against the league leaders who will want revenge for that 4-0 reverse earlier this season.

I’ve been saying all season how much I hate this poxy trophy, and how unfazed I would be if we were to be knocked out. But regardless of the competition, I always want Sunderland to win games.

I don’t think Johnson will make many changes to a winning side, unless absolutely unavoidable. One of those is cup-tied Sanderson, who has impressed me so far, and will be a big miss from the back line.

It would be typical Sunderland to get to Wembley and win it, without a single Sunderland fan able to witness it. And even though Lincoln have won all three of their shoot-outs so far this season, I think Burge will perform more penalty heroics and book our second final in three years.

Ipswich Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Will Lee Burge be between the sticks if it goes all the way to penalties?
Photo by Hannah Fountain - CameraSport via Getty Images

Jack Howe-Gingell Predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 2 - 1 Lincoln City

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Jordan Jones

Could we be on our way to Wembley? It would be in typical Sunderland fashion that we would make it there and win a trophy (even one as minuscule as this) without any supporters to witness it, but that’s jumping the gun.

Lincoln come into this one as the league leaders and we will need to take them seriously. We battered them last time we met, but they could have easily scored two before our first.

Jorge Grant is likely to be the main man, and due to their small squad size, it’s likely they will play at full strength.

I’d like us to rotate a little, as getting to a final would be fun, the league is the most important thing. We have the likes of Jones, Neil and Winchester who all need minutes and this is a good opportunity to do that - I just hope Johnson sticks with the 4-3-3.

I’m expecting changes due to the amount of midweek fixtures we have up to April, and fancy Jones to notch his first since joining on loan from Rangers, with a narrow win to boot.

Gillingham v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One
Jorge Grant has been in-form for Lincoln City this season
Photo by James Chance/Getty Images

Will Jones Predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 2 - 1 Lincoln City

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Jordan Jones

I really don’t know. I just don’t. Is this the start?

With LJ stating we have five potential central defenders unavailable, and he doesn’t believe youngsters will be given a go in this game, so it’s likely a full strength (minus the cup tied players) as possible.

This may be enough to dispose of Lincoln for a second time under Johnson, however I feel like this will be a closer affair. Appleton will have done his homework, and with a few more additions to their squad, they will be able to rotate and be fresh too.

The confidence will be high with us off the back of our resounding win, and them conceding late to a promotion ‘rival’ will have hurt them too. I believe they are for the taking. We are good against the top sides. Let’s get back to Wembley way.

Sunderland v Doncaster Rovers - Sky Bet League One
Lee Johnson
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Martin Wanless Predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 3 - 2 Lincoln City

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke

My predictions have been absolute garbage this year, and I did toy with just predicting Sunderland defeats from now on as whenever I do they seem to prove me wrong… however I’ve giving it one last crack. If we don’t win against Lincoln I may well deploy my own brand of reverse psychology for the rest of the season.

Anyway, after Saturday’s fine win I’m backing us to follow it up with a narrow and entertaining win against the Imps and secure a place at Wembley.

Lincoln are obviously one of this season’s top teams, but I think we’ll have enough going forward to see them off. By the sound of it our defence will be on the thin side, so we may see a goal or two go in against us. But with the Kevin Phillips / Niall Quinn hybrid Charlie Wyke has somehow turned himself into, we’ll be ok.

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