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[Archived] Sunderland v Rovers


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The second of two away games on the bounce and part 3 of a 4 game sequence in 10 days.

Sunderland Roker Park and Stadium of Light are grounds I have somehow never managed to go to and that is a duck I am not going to be breaking this season either unfortunately. Having said that I was going to a game at Roker and it got postponed so given the turmoil at dear old Rovers it might be a good idea if I start planning my journey up to Wearmouth right now.

Sunderland are not dissimilar to Newcastle United in having their triumphs in the murky past- I vaguely recall Newcastle winning the Fairs Cup in 1969 but most definitely remember Sunderland winning the FA Cup in 1973- Jim Montgomerie's save, Ian Porterfield's goal and dear old Bob Stokoe putting paid to dirty Leeds. Oh what fun. And many barren years in the north east ever since!

That is not to dismiss 6 Championships, 2 FA Cups and a 68 year unbroken sojourn in the top flight until relegation in 1958. However, since then they have been something of a yo-yo club including a trip to the third level and two mind bogglingly awful seasons in the PL in the last decade which saw them clock up 19 points in 2003 and 15 points in 2005, a low point which Derby undertook (?) with 11 points in 2007/8.

Sunderland have been well backed financially by their current and previous owners who somehow managed to recruit players of the calibre of Gayan without firing their Manager and Deputy and double promoting the first team coach- no idea how they managed to do that. Despite all the outlay, it has taken time for Sunderland to get themselves securely established and this season look to be on course for a top half finish. Significantly, their squad includes 13 English born players, 2 Scots and one Ulsterman showing a clear preference for home grown talent despite American ownership.

The Manager is Steve Bruce- a man whom I don't rate particularly highly after witnessing an intemperate rant against Rovers from him after we were cheated 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Championship winning season. He somehow managed to make Paddy Crerrand appear sane and unbiased. Notwithstanding that, Bruce is a Manager I would imagine most of his fellow PL managers fancy out-witting when they send out a team against his side so this should be a great opportunity for Steve Kean to prove some tactical nous at this level.

I also saw Bruce score against Rovers more than once- the first at Priestfield when we beat Gillingham 2-1 after Bruce's late goal forced extra time in a League Cup game. Bruce was a teenage superstar in the making.

Back to Saturday's game and frankly I am full of foreboding. Sunderland have many of the characteristics of the Stoke side which took us apart today with two differences - they are a better side and they can play football when they want to. Ask the shell-shocked Ancelloti; Sunderland murdered Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and the 3-0 scoreline did not flatter them.

What side will we put out?

No idea- depends whether there is a night of the long knives or of Gerald Jackson's pyjamas if the Venky's are vindictive against every player who has spoken out (Ryan?).

But at least there will be no Jason Roberts grin after he misses an open goal which has become a trade mark of recent Rovers' visits to Sunderland. Come to think of it, it would be a major achievement if Rovers got into position to miss an open goal after the way the West Ham and Stoke games went.

Will we continue our revival of our winning ways in the North East after collecting 3 points from St James's? I just don't see it. Think this will be a losing start to 2011 and we will do well to keep the damage to our goal difference to just 2.

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  • Backroom

Can see us getting absolutely battered in this one. I wouldn't have been confident of winning with Allardyce in charge, and with Kean in charge you can forget it. 3-0 Sunderland, hopefully no more than that.

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Nice one Phillip, it doesnt seem like only 10 weeks ago that we had that 0-0 at Ewood.

If we get a point from this one we'll do well.

I'm constipated with foreboding of ill times.

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Depends which Sunderland turn up. On their day, they'll walk through that midfield of ours, unless Kean makes the necessary provisions. There's no way Dunn can start, let alone play 90 minutes. Either way, it's gonna make for a curious game!

Kalinic will be a bigger miss than Salgado. I think 'Il Due' could do with a break.

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  • Backroom

Weirdly this now isn't as daunting a task.

It seems like I say the following in every preview:

Dunn simply cannot start.

I would play linganzi instead of Dunn and Hoilett just behind Mame diouf.


Emerton Nelsen Hanley Givet

Diouf Linganzi Pedersen Olsson


M Diouf

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Great feeling but just note how many Boxing Day winners and losers turned it around today. Sunderland will be smarting after losing to Blackpool and we are missing Kalinic and Salgado for this one as well as the injuries and fall outs.

One of the rare times I agree with every word you say (except I don't think Salgado's suspension starts for a week). Especially worrisome is that Sunderland had 32 attempts, 16 on target and didn't score.

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Difficult selection for us. I would go




---MB Diouf---------Hoilett-----------EH Diouf


Ridiculous that we have been reduced to Samba in midfield but honestly looking at the squad I can't see much other choice to be honest. If Samba can get the positioning right in DM then he has pretty decent technique and pace to make a fist of the role.

God we need to make some signings!

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I'd play:



Hoilett-Linganzi-Pedersen-E Diouf

Benjani-M Diouf


Bunn(or other keeper if Robinson injured)


Nelsen (thought he was very poor against West Brom and lucky not to concede)





That's literally the only players in the first team we have available right now. I imagine Kean will probably have Nelsen in the team ahead of Hoilett, with players moved into different positions from what I have. Probably Dunn ahead of Linganzi as well. Hopefully he does drop both Nelsen and Dunn though.

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Salgado should be able to play,7days before suspension with 5 bookings instant suspension for Kalanic

Stupid bloody rule but at least it's worked in our favour this time. Keeping Emerton in midfield gives more leeway to drop Dunn. I didn't see yesterday's game of course but consensus on here tells me he needs to make way.

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<br />How much are tickets, rovers website won't let me navigate to tickets on the iPhone.<br />

Download the Rovers app. Go to fans, scroll down to Buy Tickets button, select match and info can be seen. Don't know if it will let you buy online but you can check the details.

Well I've got as far as checking the Satnav to discover Sunderland is 155 miles away. It may depend on how good Friday night is.

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