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Roker Roundtable: Will Sunderland get back to winning ways this week?

With the Championship season set to recommence, we asked our panel for their thoughts on Sunderland’s prospects this week, starting with Wednesday’s trip to Reading

Middlesbrough v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says...

Despite the points that the Royals have accumulated, which are arguably beyond anyone’s expectations, we have to take the game to them.

They have only lost once in the last five, but that was a 4-0 thumping at Sheffield United. We almost got a point from the same fixture, and surely would have done if we hadn’t played with ten men for over an hour.

Reading’s other notable loss came a couple of weeks earlier in August, and that was a 4-0 hiding away to Rotherham, another team who we played well against of late. In fact, we probably turned in our best Championship performance of the season, comprehensively beating them when they were still on an unbeaten run.

Yes, Reading have won at home to Stoke, Middlesbrough, Blackburn and Cardiff, but apart from one game, they were all by the odd goal, and from what I have heard, more than one could have very much gone another way.

In arguably their best display, against Blackburn, they only managed 35% of possession but they got seven shots on target, and scored three goals. With that in mind, we will have to watch out for counter attacks, and without Dennis Cirkin’s pace, we will need to adjust quickly to keep them out.

That said, we have the quality from front to back, even without Ross Stewart and Cirkin, so I think that we can prevail and take an injection of confidence into upcoming matches that, on paper, could be harder than this.

Middlesbrough v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Kev Barker says...

We need to go to Reading and show the quality and the level of performance that eluded us at Middlesbrough, albeit with the last-minute disruption of Ross Stewart’s injury.

If we can find a system that allows our creative players to run at their defence whilst still maintaining a solid shield against counter attacks, we can go there and win.

With a difficult trip to Watford at the weekend and then the international break after that, we need to take something from the game and show that we can manage with a couple of injuries.

I’m hoping to see us play with two out-and-out wingers to support and supply Ellis Simms, and look forward to seeing the team that Tony Mowbray sends out.

Sunderland v Rotherham United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Michael Dunne says...

It’s still hard to know where Sunderland stand right now.

Our form is decent enough, but we have lost a couple of games by narrow margins. Throw in the loss of Ross Stewart and we are probably still a bit unsure as to where we stand under a new head coach.

Wednesday’s game is equally difficult to analyse.

Reading were one of the early favourites for relegation, but they have started the season quite well. On paper, their team is bang average and not particularly intimidating, but they are going strong. Sunderland need to find goals from other sources, and I think we have the ability to do this through Alex Pritchard, Patrick Roberts and Jack Clarke.

It will be an interesting game and to be honest, I’d be happy with a draw.

Middlesbrough v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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