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Sunderland v Rotherham - Sky Bet Championship

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Roker Report Score Predictions 2022-23: Game 9 - Reading v Sunderland

Sunderland should be chomping at the bit tonight. Do the Predictions boys fancy Tony Mowbray and the Stewart-less SAFC squad to resume travelling successes?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Last time around - Middlesbrough away

The lads had what many commented was one of their poorest performances on what now feels like a distant Monday down at Boro. They lost through the single converted chance our North Yorkshire opponents managed to nick under the keeper (with a very well-timed touch from Luke O’Nien almost preventing the chance, but ultimately assisting it).

The loss of Ross Stewart in the warm-up was a major factor, that cannot be questioned. The subsequent loss of young Cirkin in the match will also present some real challenges for today’s game which is live on Sky and being played down in the M4 corridor.

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

Given we will have another dozen or so games with Rossco unavailable assuming he is out for about 7 more weeks, we could see a drop in attacking performance until around the time of the World Cup break unless others step up, and fast.

Though Cirkin is hoped to be back in a week or so, changes of personnel for 2 of the first names on the team sheet up front and at the back will impact SAFC. It takes time to alter formations and personnel and to make it click, especially at this level. We did get more time than expected with the national break last weekend, which we hope helped the lads, while also allowing those around the country to mourn and grieve rather than watch footy.

This is a chance for Mowbray and his wider squad to show what they can do, albeit a tad sooner than Tony would have hoped.

The surge of positive predictions post the lesson we gave Rotherham means our Predictions punters went uber optimistic, and will get nothing back for the last round at all. 4 of the 6 lads were getting nothing for first scorer before a kick was attempted, but that’s footy for you.

Predictions League Table

No change in the table this time around. Will, Bomber and Matty have 2-3 points over the midtable pairing, and a good 4-5 point lead over our down-under predictor, Martin.

Given how we have briefly gone from superb to sub-standard in terms of performance and results, the predictions for top 3 Reading away may well be tamed somewhat, especially with Ross in the physio room.

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 (no goal scorer is a valid call)
  • Possible deductions for being lazy and not submitting on time = TBC at Malc’s discretion…

Malc Dugdale predicts...

Score Prediction: Reading 0-2 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Ellis Simms

I think with the time afforded to Tony Mowbray we will switch to a back four, and with high and wide wingers whipping balls in, I can see Ellis Simms having a better chance of converting a cross than when operating as a lone striker, as he had to at short notice down by the Riverside.

Hartlepool v Sunderland: Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Michael Driver /MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Though we will be without Cirkin, I think Aji Alese will grab this chance with both hands if given it. If he shows why the Hammers fans were gutted to lose him, he could put some real pressure on Cirkin and the coach regarding who gets the left sided defensive berth for the coming spell.

Matty Foster predicts...

Score Prediction: Reading 1-1 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Ellis Simms

My initial thought of Reading were they’d be bottom of the pile by now, and Ince wouldn’t see in the new year as manager.

They currently sit third and have won all four home games, so shows what do I know!

Reading v West Ham United - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

After the postponement of last Saturday’s game, the lads available should be ready and raring to go.

I have faith in the lads, but given the great start Reading have made, I’m going for a score draw.

Bomber Davies predicts...

Score Prediction: Reading 1-1 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Ellis Simms

Reading are one of those unglamorous teams that often get overlooked for consideration.

But the fact is that they currently sit 3rd in the league, having won 4 from 4 at home, scoring 8 and conceding 2.

Sunderland v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

Couple that with the fact that we are without the “LND” and Dennis Cirkin and it would be easy for even the biggest optimists to fear the worst.

In the circumstances I’d be more than happy to come away with a draw, and Ellis Simms is due a goal - so that’s exactly what I’m going with.

Martin Wanless predicts...

Score Prediction: Reading 1-1 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Alex Pritchard

A few injuries and a change in shape means we’re really testing the squad at an early stage of the season and Tony Mowbray’s reign.

Reading have had a decent start to the season; they’ve beaten the likes of Stoke and Boro at home recently, but I’m hopeful we’ll be able to scrape a point and move on to another difficult fixture on Saturday.

Alex to nab one and give us a share of the points.

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

Will Jones predicts...

Score Prediction: Reading 0-3 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Alex Pritchard

After just over a week's rest from the game down the road, and a week on the training ground, I believe a bounce back is coming, just like against Rotherham.

Yes, we are missing some big players - Rossco and Dennis will make us look thin on paper, but a few changes and, with our depth in the centre of the park, we should keep the quality high.

Sheffield United v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Reading have had a great start to the season, even if they haven’t played well for the most part and are almost definitely in a false position.

I believe if we get an early goal (ideally from Pritch) and get everything churning, the confidence will rise, and with such a young squad this is key. If it happens we will make light work of Reading and move on to the weekend.

Jack Howe-Gingell predicts...

Score Prediction: Reading 1-2 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Ellis Simms

After our last fixture was postponed, I’m hoping we come into this one full of beans and excited to get back to winning ways.

The extended break should have given Mowbray time to work on new strategies without Stewart and Cirkin available, and intriguingly perhaps it will push some of the new lads into contention. Amad already made his bow, and comments suggest that Bennette is being prepared for Championship life sooner than expected.

Middlesbrough v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Reading scream “false position” to me. I’m surprised at how well they have done, even with a battering from an average Rotherham side amongst it. There is nothing to fear and the lads need to show what they’re made of.

Our injuries are a major blight, and any team would suffer losing two players of quality. I’m confident however, that we have a good side and we will get a positive result.


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A tough few months


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