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Roker Report Score Predictions: Can Sunderland open the floodgates against Rochdale?

After Sunderland struggled to break down Swindon in midweek, will our panel predict a more convincing win over Rochdale this afternoon?

Norwich City v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Last Time Out...

Our panel was clearly expecting a more convincing victory in midweek than we eventually go through Charlie Wyke’s header with 20 minutes remaining. We did have Jack, Matthew and Phil making the call that the ex-Bradford man would get the opening goal so got the extra point. The low scoring meant no change in our table, however.

Will the result in midweek mean the predictions will be more reserved as we take on Rochdale at the Stadium of Light this afternoon? Let’s find out, in this round of predictions...

Philip Butler Predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 2 - 0 Rochdale

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke

If Chris Maguire had squared it to Jack Diamond when on the counter-attack near the end of Tuesday’s game, I would have taken full points from Sunderland’s midweek fixture. For this reason, I’m going with the same prediction as Lee Johnson’s side take on Rochdale at the Stadium of Light.

With Aiden McGeady being fielded in a purely creative role, and the other goal threats Lynden Gooch and Jordan Jones either rotation risks or out of form, there’s only Charlie Wyke who I can safely predict to open the scoring for Sunderland - especially with the identity of our penalty taker unknown since Grant Leadbitter’s injury.

As for the scoreline, Rochdale haven’t scored in their last five so I can’t really see them breaking down a Sunderland defence which has been functional if not completely solid and a replay of Tuesday’s game - but with that extra goal on the counter - seems the most likely result.

Sunderland v Swindon Town - Sky Bet League One
Let’s hope Charlie is performing a celebratory knee slide this afternoon
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Malcolm Dugdale Predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 5 - 0 Rochdale

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke

This prediction is half based on stats, and half on the hope that our team go out this weekend and make a statement win out of this fixture, to really get our fellow promotion hopefuls looking at us with concern.

Rochdale try to play good footy which should be admired, but they have scored only 3 goals in the last 8 games. Of those games, their last win was way back in late January which is an age ago when it’s in the midst of the current hectic schedule.

Even though we will have to continue with a makeshift defensive line up, I doubt they have enough to breach our back line with Sanderson, O’Nien and Burge involved.

We are scoring, even against the “park the bus” brigade in League One now, and across the same spell of 8 matches Rochdale have conceded 12 goals, 4 of those at home to MK Dons.

In the last two games, they have also suffered red cards for a central defender and a central midfielder, so if the resulting suspensions are still running, they will have forced changes before running out too.

Wyke resumed his scoring run in a timely way to take the three points versus Swindon, and will relish taking on a newly amended defensive line. Maguire may well start too (he deserves to for me) and he could well draw another red card with his shithousery, and with his newfound form may well strike first.

This is a big call but I’ve strangely convinced myself it can happen. Don’t let me down lads!

Sunderland v Swindon Town - Sky Bet League One
Is Chris Maguire ready to step into the starting line-up again?
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Matthew Foster Predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 2 - 0 Rochdale

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke

It matters not how we win, but that we win and continue to pick up points. Swindon was a tough watch, but given the results around us, they were three crucial points and promotion seems so much more of a realistic prospect.

We’re in such a rich vein of form, something which cannot be said about this afternoon’s opponents. Rochdale have not won in seven games, with a solitary goal to their name in that run and it’s not looking good for their chances of survival.

Those kinds of factors have in the past resulted in us doing a ‘Sunderland’, but I have faith that we have turned a corner. I feel it will be either feast or famine; we’ll either batter them, or it’ll be akin to the Swindon game and one goal will separate us.

For that reason, I’ll plant myself in between the two, but once again will take any kind of win, and hopefully see us inch ever closer to that coveted promotion place.

Northampton Town v Rochdale - Sky Bet League One
Rochdale manager Brian Barry-Murphy
Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

Jack Howe-Gingell Predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 3 - 0 Rochdale

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke

After a heart-stopping end to our previous encounter, I’m expecting us to take charge of this one and score a few goals. Rochdale are languishing in the relegation zone of League One and have failed to win any of their last 6 games, including a demoralising defeat to Burton and a stalemate with fellow strugglers Northampton.

It must be telling that the BBC’s score/assist charts for Rochdale said there was “no data available”. I may be doing them a disservice, but we should have nothing to fear, and it is worth bearing in mind that Rochdale’s star centre half is none other than Paul McShane. That Everton game is still nightmare fuel for me, and hopefully our attackers will create one of our own.

An injury to Lynden Gooch is likely to enforce a change but it will be interesting to see who starts. Chris Maguire has been pushing the envelope with his recent showings, so maybe it’s time for him to start?

A comfortable win should be there for the taking - Wyke hat trick imminent.

Ipswich Town v Rochdale - Sky Bet League One - Portman Road
Former Sunderland defender Paul McShane will be making a return to the Stadium of Light with Rochdale
Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images

Will Jones Predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 3 - 1 Rochdale

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke

A gritty and fighting midweek keeps us fighting at the top of the form table and giving us more and more confidence moving forward.

Rochdale are on a stinker right now and it’s time we put them to bed early. Won by half time so we can rest and rotate. The last thing we need right now is more injuries.

We have a team that seems to be picking up in the second half and are docile at the start. I feel fatigue is becoming a real pain for every team in this division and this has to be where we thrive. The squad we have is great for this league and we need to show it.

On top of this, the goals we are scoring are not by luck, they are well worked and top finishes. I believe a few more of these on Saturday and we can go into next week looking to attack the top further.

Crewe Alexandra v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Will Aiden McGeady get the ball rolling for Sunderland this afternoon?
Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Martin Wanless Predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 2-1 Rochdale

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke

While this has the makings of a ‘typical Sunderland’ game, I expect us to see Rochdale off. Three points are a must if we want to go up automatically, and we need to do a professional job today.

I don’t envisage a steamroller of a performance like Malc’s suggesting, and I also think the luck of our makeshift defence might run out.

We’re likely to see a few changes too, with a big week ahead, but you’d expect Wyke to be in the starting line up and I’m hopeful that Tuesday’s goal starts another scoring spree for him. 2-1 – Rochdale getting a late goal to ensure a nervy finish.

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