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Roker Report Predictions: Sunderland v MK Dons

It’s back to more solid ground for our panel this week as Sunderland return to League One action - will they back a third straight League victory? Let us know what you think!

Sunderland v Mansfield Town: Emirates FA Cup First Round Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Only Martin and Will picked up a solitary point with their prediction would go down to a defeat at Fleetwood in midweek. This means our table has become even tighter with only three points separating top from bottom.

Our table could look very different after the visit of MK Dons at the weekend, or, considering our panels current form, it could look exactly the same. After round fourteen of predictions and 56 points available I’m sure our panel will be looking to improve their tally in the coming weeks, so let’s find out what our panel go for in this round of predictions...

Philip Butler predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 1 - 0 MK Dons

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke

Since our last two games were in the cup competitions, it’s pretty easy to write them off going into this game. The 1-0 defeat was, as McFadzean said, only the FA Cup.

MK Dons are actually the type of side that Sunderland perform well against. They’re not a Wycombe or an Accrington who will look to our eleven players behind the ball and go long to a target man, but instead they will look to play through the lines - even if they do sit slightly deeper against a team of Sunderland’s “quality”.

I’m fancying the clean sheet train to resume its journey and with the luscious Turkish locks of Charlie Wyke to bag the winner.

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Malcolm Dugdale predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 2 - 0 MK Dons

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke

Ok, so we don’t do cups. I get it.

But, if there is any truth in the theory that Phil is building a clean sheet engine with the hope one or two goals can nick it, that should be doable this weekend.

We are back in league action against a team who are hardly ripping up trees, but they are all banana skins as we know (mental note - Mansfield did nowt ‘til we met them...).

Though we suffered several squad injuries in the run out for Papa John’s trophy, including Younger who I can’t wait to see again, it could be argued only McFadzean was highly likely to play this weekend before that kicked off given Phil’s preference for experience over youth and energy. Reflecting back on the Fleetwood game and thinking about this weekend, who runs out could/should be a different story. Embleton and Diamond are very much deserving of at least the bench, and Neil is not far behind them.

My concern is with only Bailey Wright a consistent figure in the back three, who do we put him together with? A recovering Willis plus one other is the reply due to international players impacting selection, as well as injuries. A returning Willis may not assure a clean sheet at all, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Gooch pulls out a screamer as he did away to this lot last season, to give us at least a one goal win.

Main thing is a solid professional and ideally convincing performance at home. We need to put a finger in the hole in that leaky dam, and build on from here in League terms. That’s another disappointing pair of results out of the way, which thankfully don’t count towards our promotion hopes. Back to the winning ways please lads, take home a convincing but steady three points and I’ll be happy(ish).

Gillingham v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Who will play alongside Bailey Wright? asks Malcolm Dugdale
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Matthew Foster predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 2 - 1 MK Dons

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke

Whilst I detest Newcastle for obvious reasons, MK Dons are a side I dislike for an entirely different reason.

I am old enough to remember how they came to be, and the whole ‘Wimbledon’ debacle still resonates with me now. So to see them struggling at the bottom does give me some satisfaction.

They’ve had a poor start, with only two wins from eleven league games, and it will be a dogfight at the bottom to stay in League One next season. We’re coming off two defeats, but given the youthful side that faced Fleetwood, I’m discounting that as a continuation of bad form.

With a win on Saturday - dependent on the Hull result - we could see ourselves in the top two, with other sides not in action, and what better incentive is there? It would also make the embarrassing exit to Mansfield an easier pill to swallow. After all, promotion is the ultimate aim.

We have numerous absentee’s going into the weekend, but nevertheless, I can see us grinding a win out against ‘Franchise FC’, with a well rested Wyke opening the scoring for the lads. Ha’way!

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet League One
Charlie Wyke scores the opener against Ipswich Town
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Jack Howe-Gingell predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 2 - 1 MK Dons

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Lynden Gooch

MK Dons, a team generally reviled due to their relocation of the original Wimbledon, and rightly so.

They are languishing towards the bottom of League One, with just two wins this season. It’s the kind of game Sunderland should be winning comfortably, though our recent performances are nothing to shout about despite some good results.

Scott Fraser leads their scoring charts, who was a Sunderland target before the introduction of the wage stranglehold. He seems to be a far better player than the team around him, so we will need to be mindful of his influence.

I was a little surprised to see Cameron Jerome leading the line for them, as I had presumed he had already retired, though further research shows he had a bizarre stint for a Turkish side I’ve never heard of. He’s one of those players who you often wonder how they managed to play in the Premier League despite not really being good enough. If he still has any pace, that will distress our back line, however.

Due to these two, I have a nagging feeling we will concede one. Pace tends to lead to us coming unstuck.

Hopefully Phil Parkinson will have actually taken note of our midweek pizza cup action and spotted that we actually have a number of talented players within our ranks who can give us a boost. I even spotted us with five players in the opposition box, which I presume gave Parkiola a nosebleed.

It’s simple - Diamond, Embleton and Neil should be on the bench as a bare minimum. That being said, I fully expect to see the usual tired faces appearing ad infinitum. Overall, we’ll more than likely emerge victorious, but we won’t have it all our own way.

Gillingham v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Lynden Gooch
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Will Jones predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 3 - 1 MK Dons

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Chris Maguire

I was so torn with this one, it is obvious based off of the previous games that MK do not deserve to sit at the foot of the table and will not be there if they keep playing as they are.

They are a possession based side who just can’t get the goals or the defence right it seems. A high proportion of their goals have come from Mr. Scott Fraser, from the spot, which has kept them ticking over in terms of points. But unless they turn their chances into goals, nothing is going to change.

They are coming to the SoL with only two away points from six outings so far and I can’t see them adding anything to it Saturday.

Sunderland however, need a real kick up the arse. With Elliot Embleton back and seemingly raring to go, he will hopefully have more chance of starting than Dan Neil, in Parkinson’s mind, and should at least make the bench on Saturday.

As mentioned above, MK hold a lot of the ball most games. We will need to counter effectively and fluidly; and that is something we have shown well in games with Oxford and Posh, where we have won without conceding. However, this time, although the attacking prowess of the opposition is not as high, we have a lot of defensive injuries and it may be broken once or twice Saturday.

I believe we will win. We just need to not get caught out and have a lack of bite like the last few games.

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet League One
Chris Maguire
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Martin Wanless predicts...

Score Prediction: Sunderland 2 - 0 MK Dons

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke

After the two cup performances in the past seven days – one more promising than the other, neither ending in a win – I sense a ‘normal service is resumed’ game on Saturday.

Wright and Leadbitter will no doubt be back in the side after what will hopefully have been a beneficial rest, and the likes of Burge, Hume and Wyke should all return, too.

After the defeat to Mansfield especially, the emphasis will likely be on ‘Parkyballing’ our way to victory – keeping a clean sheet at one end, and a Charlie Wyke goal or two at the other. Opposition reds and penalties in our favour all gratefully accepted.

Selection-wise I’d love to see Embleton start. He won’t. But he may be on the bench, which would be a step in the right direction.

It won’t be pretty, I doubt it’ll be entertaining, but it will hopefully be three points which, at this stage of our season, is all that matters. 2-0.

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet League One
Charlie Wyke
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

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