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Hartlepool v Sunderland: Pre-Season Friendly

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Sunderland 2022/2023 Season Predictions: Ready for the Championship!

Sunderland are finally back in the Championship after four years away. How do our panel think the Lads will fare this season, and who will be our key figures?


Who will be Sunderland’s most important player this season?


Tom Albrighton says…

Ross Stewart. Being somewhat light up front means that we need Stewart to not only hit the ground running, but to stay fit for most, if not all, of the season. With his variations, smart movement & a good eye for goal, a lot will hinge on the Scotsman’s impact up top.

Kevin Campbell says…

Alex Pritchard. He’s had an under-the-radar kind of summer, but I think that’s just the way he’d like it to be, His performances on the pitch last season were immense, and we chorused over and over again about how his quality was clearly a league above. This season, we will find out if we were right.

Ant Waterson says…

Patrick Roberts. He really came alive during the back end of the season; we all know what he is capable of, and he has been given a chance to reignite his career at Sunderland. His directness and eye for goal will scare defences, and I’m sure he will pop up with a few goals this season.

Michael Dunne says…

I’m going to say Ross Stewart. I think he has the potential to score a lot of goals this season and for that reason alone, he could be key. We desperately need to buy someone to support him, but either way, he is our talisman and I expect big things from him this season.

Dundee United v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group via Getty Images

Who will be Sunderland's top goalscorer this season?


Tom Albrighton says…

Again, it looks like we’ll rely heavily on Stewart this season but I’m firmly of the belief his goal tally won’t fall by much - or even at all - despite the step up into a higher division. Stewart’s weakest part of his game is possibly his physical presence, and that’s somewhat negated by a supposed lesser level of physicality in the Championship. Twenty goals at least for the big man.

Kevin Campbell says

Ross Stewart. And if all goes well, I think the newly capped Scotland international may be in line to chase the golden boot. He needs cover and support up top, and that’s no doubt on its way, but Stewart will almost certainly be Sunderland’s top scorer this term.

Ant Waterson says…

Ross Stewart. I really think Stewart has the capability to become a top class striker. His all-round play last season was crucial to us going up. Stewart can score different types of goals and is a rare breed of tall striker who is probably better with his feet. I expect him to get close to his total last season.

Michael Dunne says…

Similar to the last question, our talisman, the Loch Noss Drogba will be our main man and goal getter.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Who will be Sunderland’s best young player this season?


Tom Albrighton says…

If he features regularly, Trai Hume may well become a firm favourite in rapid time but for now I’ll have to say Anthony Patterson. Despite the clamour to sign another goalkeeper (which we did on Tuesday in Alex Bass) it’s safe to say that the number one shirt is ad should remain Patterson’s. With his rapid rise through the ranks and incredible improvement since his debut, he will be another key member of the squad going forward, with even more improvement to come at his young age.

Kevin Campbell says…

It’s incredibly encouraging to have so many players to choose from in this category. As of today, twelve of our twenty one senior, first-team squad players are aged twenty three or younger! Of those youngsters, I’m tipping Jack Clarke to break out this season. We’ve seen his ability in sparks, but I think he’s going to catch fire in the Championship.

Ant Waterson says…

Trai Hume has been excellent for Sunderland in pre-season. He scored a goal against Dundee United, and also made numerous late runs into the box to cause bother. If he can improve his defensive play, I think we are onto a gem here.

Michael Dunne says…

I am expecting a lot from Jack Clarke and I think he could be our best signing of the summer. Clarke is quite raw but has serious potential, which he has showed in patches, especially during the playoffs, and I think he can build on that heading into the new season.

Dundee United v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group via Getty Images

Which away trip during the league campaign will be the hardest?


Tom Albrighton says…

Norwich obviously stands out as a difficult away game for various reasons and with a sketchy past against them, especially at Carrow Road, it’s likely to make for our toughest test of the season.

Kevin Campbell says…

I’ll go with the trip to Vicarage Road for this one. I’ve got Watford as the clear favorites to win the league, and an away trip to northwest London will be a massive test. It comes early doors as well, on the 17th of September, when the squad should be settled and Alex Neil will have gotten us playing his football, so it should be a good benchmark for us early in the campaign.

Ant Waterson says…

Middlesbrough. A ‘derby’ game against a side who I think will go up this season. It’ll pit the wits of two bright young managers in Alex Neil and Chris Wilder against each other, and I expect this game to be an absolute cracker.

Michael Dunne says…

There will be some very difficult games this season but I can see us struggling in some of those London trips, and Watford away could be a particularly hard one. They know the division well and I can see them building on their home record and being a strong outfit this season.

Watford FC v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Where do you think Sunderland will finish in the league?


Tom Albrighton says…

Not as optimistic as some, but a solid season of consolidation in the Championship would see most fans walk away happy. As our rise looks set to be gradual, thanks to a lengthy stay in League One, the key to this season must be to turn a League One side into a comfortable Championship outfit. With plenty of talent and experience in the squad, and a host of teams seemingly on the precipice, I’ll say that Sunderland will finish twelfth.

Kevin Campbell says…

I know I’ll get some stick for this, but I really do believe that Sunderland will push for the playoffs. I think Watford and Norwich will set the pace, with Burnley, Coventry, and Sheffield United probably pushing them on, and then the league looks there for the taking. We have a young, developing squad; a proven and still improving goalscorer with creative options behind him that will leave Championship defenders in tatters, a young, ambitious, and very organised defence, and a manager who know what it takes to win at this level. I say we finish sixth on the final day and then test to see if the Wembley magic is still lingering!

Ant Waterson says…

I just want a nice, average, boring season and for us to finish twelfth, but this is Sunderland, after all. I honestly believe that with a few additions, we can complete well in this league. Look at the playoff contenders last season: were they expected to be there? Nope. Anything can happen, and I trust in Alex Neil to make a real go of it this season, so I’ll say tenth. Haway the lads!

Michael Dunne says…

I am optimistic for this season but we certainly still need to invest, and I think we will. Based on this, I think we can threaten the playoff places. However, this year is all about consolidation and for that reason, I will be happy with ninth.

Dundee United v Sunderland: Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

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