Doncaster Rovers will be greeted by ‘cloud of darkness’ at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light

John Marquis, who Sunderland tried to sign in January, will be hoping to profit against the Black Cats' shaky backline. Photo: James Wilson/Sportimage
John Marquis, who Sunderland tried to sign in January, will be hoping to profit against the Black Cats' shaky backline. Photo: James Wilson/Sportimage

A ‘huge cloud of darkness’ is hovering above the Stadium of Light ahead of Doncaster Rovers’ first ever visit to Sunderland’s impressive home.

That is the verdict of Black Cats fan and Roker Rapport podcast host Graham MacMillan-Mason, who fears Rovers could ruin his team's hopes of automatic promotion from League One.

Doncaster have their own agenda over a potentially pivotal Easter weekend – cementing a play-off spot and keeping seventh-placed Peterborough United at arm’s length.

And MacMillan-Mason admits Rovers could be travelling to Wearside at a good time, on the back of Sunderland’s bizarre 5-4 defeat to Coventry City. 

“I'm nervous ahead of this game,” said Graham.

“My fellow Sunderland supporters might think quite badly of me here but for the first time I think I've done it this season I'm going to predict a defeat and say 2-1 Doncaster.

“I honestly do not feel confident about Friday.

“For some reason there has been this huge cloud of darkness which I'm not enjoying.

“I know where it's come from - the defeat and the performance against Coventry.

“But there's so much negativity around right now that it's worrying me.

“I know what it can be like [at the Stadium of Light] especially in front of the Sky cameras.

“I can see a bit of an Accrington at home game, which we ended up getting a draw.

“But Doncaster are a better team than Accrington.”

Sunderland boss Jack Ross is under pressure to tighten things up defensively after a shambolic display against the Sky Blues, with centre back pair Tom Flanagan and Jack Baldwin coming under fire from supporters.

“I don't think he'll change it wholesale,” said Graham.

“I don't think he'll take out Baldwin and Flanagan but I think he'll put Jimmy Dunne in.

“Dunne's probably got a bit more strength to go up against John Marquis.

“He can't play Flanagan and Baldwin. Confidence-wise they'll be destroyed.”

Sunderland are third in the table, two points behind Barnsley but with a game in hand.

Sixth-placed Rovers have a five-point advantage over Peterborough but Posh have played one game less.

*Listen to Rovers writer Paul Goodwin preview Friday’s game with Graham MacMillan-Mason in the Roker Rapport podcast above, via You Tube.