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Sunderland v Doncaster Rovers - Sky Bet League One

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Score Predictions: Can Sunderland take a lead to Hillsborough for the second-leg?

The play-offs can sometimes just be a lottery where form goes out of the window, so what are our predictions for the first-leg at the Stadium of Light?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Last time out...

Current standings...

How the points are awarded...

Just a quick reminder on how we allocate points to our match-by-match predictions:

  • Correct score = 3 points
  • Correct outcome (but not correct score) = 1 point
  • Correct first Sunderland goalscorer = 1 point
  • Possible deductions for being lazy and not submitting = to be decided

We also have our League One predictions here that went out on the site before the season began. We’ll keep an eye on these as we go along because, at the end of the season, this will come back into play when each correctly placed side adds five points to that person’s tally.

This week’s predictions...

Explain yourself...

Malcolm Dugdale says...

Sunderland 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Ross Stewart

If we don’t win the home leg, we are not likely to proceed in my view, as Hillsborough will be just as rammed early next week as the Stadium of Light is on Friday. I sort of wish we had these lads for the final as Wembley would have been incredible.

If we at least start the playoffs without Broadhead, I am backing big Ross Stewart to open the scoring as he did in the big win last December. His running off the shoulder of the defence that day was faultless, as was our passing and all round general play.

We need a repeat performance on Friday night and grab a lead that we can defend at their gaff. Let’s make sure we don’t let one in too, we are strong at the back of late and need to use that as much as our attacking options, which I am sure Alex Neil will.

Good luck lads. The whole of your fan base is 100% behind you, right around the world. This time.

Matty Foster says...

Sunderland 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Alex Pritchard

In arguably the biggest League One play-off fixture ever, with bumper crowds expected in both ties, we face a monumental task in Sheffield Wednesday. Forgetting the home and away fixtures against them, they’re a side with only one loss in eleven, which was a narrow defeat to Wycombe.

I’ve seen some neutrals predicting a huge aggregate score, but I think it will be cagey, in the first leg at least. I suspect Darren Moore would be delighted to get back on home turf without a defeat. And I suspect Alex Neil would be delighted with any lead.

I’m going with the latter, and an Alex Pritchard free kick late on to win it.

Sunderland v Gillingham - Sky Bet League One
Alex Pritchard
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Jack Howe-Gingell says...

Sunderland 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Ross Stewart

The play-offs have once again beckoned and for once, we are a team in form and I back us against anyone.

Sheff Wed have been experiencing a mini revival of late, but I think we can overpower them if we play to our strengths. Whispers of Barry Bannan being injured would be a big boost as well.

It feels like it could finally be our year to perform well and win the play-offs but we must perform well and not stumble at the first hurdle. It’s always nervy and I’d love us to just make it a breeze for what will be a big crowd.

I fancy us to take control of the tie, with Stewart stepping up after a lean spell by his standards. Ha’way the lads!

Will Jones says...

Sunderland 3-1 Sheffield Wednesday

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Elliot Embleton

Make or break time now. The hardest set of play-offs we will have ever seen in this league, with the biggest tie in a League One play-off semi-final ever.

We HAVE to win this. We have to be sturdy and clinical. Wednesday have not played the Alex Neil Sunderland and are extremely confident about this tie but I’m not sure they should be.

Hopefully with a few players back from injury we can show them we are a different beast under Neil and can go to Hillsborough ready for whatever will come. This is our year. Here we go.

Sunderland v Shrewsbury Town - Sky Bet League One
Elliot Embleton
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Martin Wanless says...

Sunderland 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Elliot Embleton

I think we’ll be in for two tight games – the opposite of the league games between the two teams.

We’ll obviously be keen to get a lead to take to Hillsborough, but we won’t be going all out to kill the whole tie off. Alex Neil will want to ensure that we’re in the game for the away leg, as I think he’ll fancy his ability to grind out something down there.

So, I think we’re in for a game more like the Rotherham match than when we played Wednesday on New Years Eve. Don’t read anything into that game by the way – both teams are significantly different in set up, and they’d just come back after a long break with Covid.

There’s absolutely no way we’ll win this one 5-0, and I’m just hopeful we’ll emerge with a lead – any lead – and that’ll set up a nail biting second half at Hillsborough. With a big crowd roaring us on, I’m hopeful that we will.

Chris Wynn says...

Sunderland 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Ross Stewart

I think Sheffield Wednesday are coming to keep it tight tonight so they can finish it off on home soil on Monday. We haven’t been all that great at breaking sides down and we’ve relied a lot on late goals to get through much of our recent unbeaten run, so I think we’ll nick it with a late goal.


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