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Cardiff City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Roker Roundtable: Ahead of two key home games, how are Sunderland’s playoff hopes looking?

With the upcoming visits of Birmingham and Huddersfield to the Stadium of Light, can the Lads make the most of the opportunity and strengthen their push for the top six?

Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

Andy Thompson says…

The next two fixtures are vital in beginning to turn our home form around.

We have to start making the Stadium of Light a fortress and in that respect, these games are crucial for us to win.

In my opinion, however, they aren’t decisive as to where we finish in the table. There are teams who are better placed for a playoff spot this year than us and I don’t think this team is ready to get promoted just yet.

These kinds of games will stand the squad in good stead a year or two down the line, when we might be genuinely be in the promotion hunt, and I think this is a fantastic dress rehearsal as we’ll be facing teams who play a different way.

Both Birmingham and Huddersfield are fighting for their lives and pose a significant threat. We’ll have to do the dirty work well, and that’s where we’ve often come unstuck this season.

They’ll both provide a different test for us and finding ways to win would provide some added confidence for the squad and the fans for next season.

If we want to get promoted from this league in the future, we have to work out a way to beat these types of teams at home.

Sunderland v Hull City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Kyle Garrett says…

Win both and the playoffs will be within touching distance, but that’s half the issue.

Our home form has let us down massively this season and we seem to struggle to win games at the Stadium of Light.

Coventry, QPR, Bristol City and Hull are four games where we conceded late goals and ended up drawing when we should’ve won.

We have to find a way to win at home and it won’t be easy against a physical Birmingham side and Neil Warnock’s Huddersfield.

Unfortunately, I can’t see us winning both, but it would be nice!


Malc Dugdale says…

All of our remaining home games are crucial for me, as our form at the Stadium of Light simply hasn’t been good enough this season.

If we’d done better at home we would already be in the playoff positions, as our away form has been among the best in the division.

The next two games are key if we want to push for the top six.

It remains a possibility, but we need to make the Stadium of Light a real fortress and improve how the players perform and feel about home ties ahead of next season.

That’s even more important, because if our away form hadn’t been so good this season, we might well have been looking over our shoulders.

I’m confident we can get at least four, if not six points from these next two games, although the resurgence of Huddersfield under Neil Warnock has arrived with terrible timing for our hopes of a top six berth.

Let’s put Birmingham to the sword first and get some confidence back ready for Huddersfield, and we should be OK.

Even if we fall at this late fence or another one in terms of our playoff hopes, the fact that we still have top six hopes right now is something to admire in itself.

Sunderland v Hull City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Sam Blakey says…

It should be a huge boost that our next two fixtures are winnable on paper.

However, our home form this season has been a slight letdown during an otherwise positive first season back in the Championship.

I believe that we’re still yet to win three games in a row and we won’t have a better chance to put that right than during the next two games. One thing I’d particularly like to see against Birmingham and Huddersfield is that if we take the lead, we either finish the opposition off or use a bit of gamesmanship in order to see the game out.

We’ve lost a lot of points from winning positions this season, particularly at the Stadium of Light and it has to change next season, as our stadium should be a fortress for us with the crowds we average week in and week out.

Whatever happens between now and the end of the season, the future is bright with these lads playing for us.

Even though our home form hasn’t been amazing, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed going to games, which is a testament to how the players have performed throughout the season.

They’re young lads who’ll get better, and we’re on the up!


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