Sunderland under ‘huge pressure’ but things ‘looking up’ on fitness front ahead of Lincoln City clash

Excitement is constructing as Lincoln City put together to host Sunderland of their play-off semi-final first leg on Wednesday (6pm).

After the perimeters completed stage on factors, two closely-fought affairs are in prospect because the groups attempt to ebook a spot within the remaining in opposition to Blackpool or Oxford United.

We requested Matty Hewitt, of ChronicleLive, key questions concerning the Black Cats forward of the sport…

Sunderland had been wanting good for automated promotion a couple of weeks again – what went unsuitable?

The Black Cats had been in an amazing place and it was in their very own palms. An entire capitulation on the pitch all however ended any hopes of automated promotion following an defeat away at Wigan.

After their win in opposition to Oxford, Lee Johnson’s facet went on a torrid run of seven video games with no win and the Black Cats head coach cited numerous causes, primarily accidents, for the horrific hunch in kind.

To be honest to him, Sunderland have needed to play the vast majority of his time on Wearside (stretching again to November) with a makeshift defence.

The excellent news is that they managed to cease the rot forward of the play-offs and will welcome again key gamers forward of Wednesday evening.

How a lot strain is there to safe promotion?

Whether these contained in the membership want to admit it, the strain is large. Truth be instructed, the membership wants it.

They’ve been on an upward trajectory since Kyril Louis-Dreyfus’ takeover and failure to achieve automated promotion was the primary actual setback below his possession.

Are the followers proud of Lee Johnson?

It’s troublesome to say. The Black Cats head coach arrived with the nickname ‘Streaky Johnson’ from Bristol City, stemming from his facet’s lack of ability to keep up consistency all through the season – happening runs of fine kind, adopted by poor performances.

It took Johnson some time to get going, and whereas his soccer has been higher to look at than his predecessor (Phil Parkinson), early indicators of these ‘streaks’ are starting to creep in.

He could have gained the EFL Trophy with the membership, however the majority of the fanbase are nonetheless comparatively undecided on whether or not he is the proper man for the job.

He in fact wants time, and the prospect to construct his personal squad to go well with his fashion of play.

Sunderland supervisor Lee Johnson

How are issues wanting on the health entrance?

Things are beginning to search for. The Black Cats may welcome again Tom Flanagan to the fold having limped off within the EFL Trophy remaining in opposition to Tranmere.

He’s skilled this week and will play a component. It would then see Luke O’Nien transfer into his extra pure midfield position, having performed the ultimate third of the season on the again.

Aiden McGeady did not begin the final two video games of the season after an damage to his foot, however he got here off the bench in opposition to Northampton to get some minutes so must be good to begin in opposition to the Imps.

Who are Sunderland’s in-form gamers?

Needless to say McGeady and Charlie Wyke have been the principle males for Sunderland this season, however each have suffered from accidents in direction of the tail finish of the marketing campaign.

Lynden Gooch has stepped up in McGeady’s absence and Jordan Jones has additionally been a risk on the flanks.

Will the presence of followers assist or hinder the workforce?

Given the event and the way lengthy followers have been away, I believe their return will solely assist the workforce – particularly on the Stadium of Light.

The gamers in fact should rise to the event, however with no away followers, the away legs may very well be fascinating.

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