We’re more than capable of getting nine, but we’re also just as likely to get three, or none!
That’s not a slight on us, but an indication of where we’re at, and our form on paper is mid-table.
We’ve won eight, drawn seven and lost eight, and we’re currently twelfth in the table, so my expectations are that anything around four points is par for the course, but anything more than that would be great.
The order of those points is important.
We drew last time out and the performance was disappointing, but a win against Blackburn, a team that I think will finish in the playoff spots, would be a fantastic confidence boost.
When they beat us 2-0 at Ewood Park, I felt we were the better side and with both of their goals it was crap officiating that let us down, so I don’t fear them - it just depends on which version of Sunderland turns up, and whether Tony Mowbray has learned from some of the mistakes he made at the weekend.
Thinking with my head, though, I think we’ll probably scrape a draw, and given Blackburn haven’t drawn a game yet this season, you have to think that it’ll happen at some point soon, so why not against us?
The games against Wigan and Blackpool are both away, and we all know our away form is better than our home form, so I fancy us to win them both.
They’re both struggling at the wrong end of the table and these are winnable games, and with Ross Stewart back in the side and causing mayhem I think we’ll take all six points.
Paddy Hayes says…
I think five or six points would be a healthy return.
Blackburn are rather unpredictable, as they’re the only side in the division who’ve yet to draw a game.
Having won thirteen games and lost ten, it’s fair to say we could get either extreme: the Rovers side that was humiliated by Preston last week or the side that looked buoyant against Norwich on Saturday.
With a crowd of more than 40,000 expected, well as the home returns of Ross Stewart and Dan Ballard, I can’t see any reason why we can’t capitalise.
Wigan are arguably the worst side in the division, perhaps with the exception of Huddersfield.
They play away at Middlesbrough on Boxing Day, and they could go into our game yet to win under Kolo Toure. That said, a draw away from home would be an acceptable result against a side struggling for form, but battling relegation.
I expect Blackpool on New Year’s Day to be a similar test to Wigan, and as the pressure ramps up on the sides around the foot of the table, they’ll undoubtedly be seeking to make the most of home advantage.
Malc Dugdale says…
I’d like seven points, and I think that’s achievable.
Ross Stewart is back and he’s already shown he hasn’t forgotten where the goal is with his instinctive finish against Hull. We scored with ten men, which is the sort of thing we usually see happen against us.
Yes, we’ve got injury issues with Danny Batth and Elliot Embleton absent, but we’ve got some depth with likes of Dan Ballard and Patrick Roberts, plus a few other midfield options. Hopefully Alex Pritchard is back, as he was missed last time out, but we’ve got some creativity, and it’s just about making it work.
We need to do better against teams in the lower third of the league, to allow for the odd draw or loss against those who are in the top half, which I think is inevitable and was discussed during the recent Roker Rapport podcast.
We should batter Wigan as they’re really struggling and not playing very well at all.
I’d also say we have a good chance of beating Blackpool, who are winless in the last five games, with only two draws. If we take wins from those two and get at least a point against Blackburn, seven it is.
I don’t think it's totally beyond us to take maximum points but that’s a huge call, so I’ll go with seven and if it's five, I’ll still be quite happy.
Kev Campbell says...
I’ll bang the happy clapper drum and say nine points from nine!
I think the Lads will be up for the Boxing Day home match against Tony Mowbray’s old side. and there’s a lot to prove for several individuals as well as the collective.
Ross Stewart will surely start, Patrick Roberts will want to cement his place in the side and Dan Ballard will be looking to show a little more solidity as he grows back into the action.
In addition, the stadium will be packed and I think the players will be desperate to prove that our home form up to this point is an aberration and not a consistent theme.
This will be the toughest of the three fixtures, but Blackburn’s recent form has been wildly inconsistent. Their defence has been leaky at times, and I think it’s an opportunity for us to bang in a few goals in front of a big crowd.
The Blackpool and Wigan fixtures seem a little more straightforward.
I know that some feel these games may be a little more scrappy, but I beg to differ. These sides are struggling at the bottom of the table and our away form has been great.
If the Blackburn game goes well, I think our confidence will be high for Wigan and Blackpool and there’s no telling how high we’ll be sat in the table in a fortnight.