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Sunderland vs Blackburn predictions: Rovers to edge tight clash
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Ian Wilkerson
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Blackburn are firmly in the mix for a play-off spot
Blackburn are firmly in the mix for a play-off spot

- Sunderland have lost three of their last four at home 
- Blackburn have scored nine times in 11 away fixtures 
- Recommended bet: Blackburn to win and under 2.5 goals

Blackburn have pushed themselves into third in the Championship and will be looking to build on a 2-0 win over Norwich in their last away league game when they head to Sunderland on Boxing Day.

Jon Dahl Thomasson’s side were beaten 4-1 by Premier League Nottingham Forest on Wednesday and need three points to maintain their promotion push.

Their opponents have struggled with inconsistency for much of the season after gaining promotion last term, but the middle of the table is congested and, even though they are 11th, there is still time for them to push into play-off contention.

Team news

Ross Stewart is Sunderland's leading scorer this season
Ross Stewart is Sunderland's leading scorer this season

Elliot Embleton has been ruled out for the Black Cats but hopes are high that Danny Batth will have recovered from a calf injury to take his place in defence.

Striker Ross Stewart is expected to start having come off the bench to score in the recent 1-1 draw at Hull.

Blackburn hope to have Sam Gallagher, Daniel Ayala and Tyler Morton available after all three missed the defeat to Forest with minor knocks they picked in last week’s win at Norwich.

The stats

Blackburn beat Sunderland 2-0 on October 18, with goals from Ben Brereton-Diaz and Scott Wharton and all three of the defeats the Black Cats have suffered since then have come at the Stadium of Light.

Those losses were against leaders Burnley, Cardiff and in their last home match against West Bromwich Albion, and it has to be a concern that they have kept just two clean sheets in their last 11 matches, something they will be looking to rectify here.

Blackburn have ground to make up on the top two — Burnley and Sheffield United — and they have won at Swansea, Blackpool, Middlesbrough, Hull and Norwich this term.

However, they have failed to score in their other seven road matches and seven of their last nine away games have featured fewer than three goals.

This will be the first time the teams have met at the Stadium of Light since December 2011, when two late goals gave Sunderland a 2-1 victory.

Rovers’ last win there came by the same scoreline in September 2007.

Prediction

Both of these teams have struggled with inconsistency this season but Blackburn’s win over Norwich last weekend suggests they should come through this encounter successfully.

Sunderland need to sort themselves out defensively if they are going to make a playoff push and with both teams likely to concentrate on keeping things tight at the back, it would be no surprise if there proved to be few goals in the game - so back Blackburn to win and under 2.5 goals at 5/1 with LiveScore Bet.

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