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Score Predictions: From The New York to The New Year - how will SAFC kick off 2024 v Preston?

Happy 2024! Today the lads guesstimate how we will do against the Lillywhites in our first home fixture of the new year this lunchtime, live on Sky.

Predictions League - Latest result

Sunderland scraped an away draw in true SAFC fashion in the last match in the week, away to basement team Rotherham Utd. In the first and last fifteen to twenty minutes we were ok, but we were probably lucky to come away with anything overall.

Rotherham midfielder Clucas scored a decent left footed volley from the edge of our box after a soft clearance header by Ekwah early in the second half, but away from that, “The Millers” threatened our goal line in both halves way more than anyone may have expected, especially for a team in the position they are.

Thankfully, wonder-kid Jack Clarke came up with another goal (albeit deflected) about twenty minutes from the end of the tie, and that plus the intro of Alex Pritchard led to us wishing for another ten minutes to nick all three points as we pressed hard for a winner late on.

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

So, a few games into Beale’s tenure he still hasn't started a striker, and the players signed to help in that domain before he took over have seen very little action in general under Mike Beale, Mike Dodds and Tony Mowbray before them.

It leaves most fans wondering when this insertion of an attacker may happen, or whether the present crop are simply all not ready? Could the wheels already be turning regarding bringing in a striker who is ready to make an impact in January?

Sunderland vs Huddersfield Town Sky Bet Championship Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Predictions lads were a tad too optimistic for the away trip to The New York stadium, with them all forecasting a win for the lads after a hard fought victory against fellow playoff challengers Hull was expected to give SAFC confidence against a team struggling as Rotherham have been.

How wrong we all were…

Points were scarce in the week based on the above, with only Malc and Jack getting a point for Clarke’s deflected but credited equaliser.

Changes to our predictions table are pretty much nil, apart from one point more each for the above two contenders.

League Table - Latest


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 = 2 point deduction

Malc Dugdale predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 2 Preston North End 1

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Clarke

The lads simply have to get their act together and get into 2024 with a win, after a pretty poor show at Rotherham.

While Jack Clarke should not be facing half as much pressure as he is, he is one of the best attacking players in this league whether we play a striker or not, so I am backing him to get another this lunchtime.

Ideally, we play a striker and they get the other goal for us, and we win this one with some of the flow and confidence we have struggled to show of late.

Come on lads… new year, new start, let’s push for these playoffs in style, and make the SOL a place no one wants to come to this year.

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

Matty Foster predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 1 Preston North End 1

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Clarke

It was an extremely disappointing draw against Rotherham, and more points dropped to a struggling side.

But we have no time to dwell on that, as we face a Preston side looking to bounce back from a poor loss against strugglers Sheffield Wednesday.

I honestly have no idea what Sunderland will turn up and how we will perform.

The table is extremely tight right now, and we need to stay as close to the top six as possible.

It’s a complete stab in the dark quite frankly, which is why I’m going down the middle (again) in the hope we don’t lose.

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

Bomber Davies predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 1 Preston North End 1

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Pritchard

It’s the first return to the stadium light since many of the home crowd embarrassed themselves against Coventry. make no mistake this is a game that really we must win.

Michael Beale already is under pressure to win over large sections of our support and I don’t think anything other than a convincing victory against Preston would do anything to resolve that.

That said I’ve not seen anything really over this Christmas period to suggest that that’s coming and I think it will once again be a game we control but severely lack any cutting edge up top.

With that, I’m going to predict another 1-1 draw and just hope the crowd actually get behind the team and have left their toys at home.

Sunderland v Huddersfield Town - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Martin Wanless predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 2 Preston North End 0

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Ballard

Four points from two away games is decent - on paper at least - but the performances haven’t been too inspiring, to say the least.

Changes will have to be made today and I hope we finally start a striker rather than relying on midfielders.

That said, I expect Pritchard will start, and I’m going for a Ballard goal from a Pritch corner to open the scoring in a fairly dull but satisfying 2-0 win - which would set us up nicely for Saturday.

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

Will Jones predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 2 Preston North End 1

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Clarke

Back at the SOL to start the year (correctly I hope), the lads need to be ready to step up and be counted.

With the losses of Huggins, Dack and Roberts in the last few games, we need some players to take to the pitch and the tactics that Mick sets out.

With Paddy out, I feel it’s time for someone to mark their place and make that right wing position their own, if they do, and take the reliance of Jack, I feel we could once again become a force in this league.

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

Jack Howe-Gingell predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 3 Preston North End 1

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Clarke

Another lacklustre game. The Beale era is not off to a good start, and I’m wondering if he is actually going to do anything differently.

Another injury to Patrick Roberts is likely to subject us to more of Ba’s bizarre stepovers and I can only hope he can find some of his early season form.

I just want us to go with an actual striker up top and move it quickly. Hopefully we can do that and get three points.

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

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