Once more we turned to our readers and asked for their thoughts ahead of this weekend’s play-off final against Charlton Athletic.
Below are a brief selection of some thoughts that were sent our way; keep your eyes peeled for another article after the final. There’s an array of emotions below, but here’s hoping the Lads leaving us feeling on top of the world come Sunday evening!
16 year old me hasn’t got over the last play off final against Charlton yet...... 20 odd years later I’ll be watching it at home, probably behind a cushion!! ⚪️ ⚪️
- Emma McCabe
Emma sums up the trepidation many fans have expressed in that history has thrown our two sides against each other once more. Hopefully, the Lads can avoid a repeat of the game from twenty-one years ago!
Confident - especially after watching their play off against Donnie, I think we play much better football than them but they do have two real threats in Taylor and Aribo.
- John Quinn
Lyle Taylor and Joe Aribo are both cracking players with huge upsides to their all-round games - hopefully they’ll have an off day this weekend! Sunderland will hopefully go into the tie with a renewed sense of confidence - Lee Bowyer’s side struggled against Doncaster at times last week.
Too close for comfort. In general they have been in much better form of late and offer an attacking threat. However we seem to have learned how to defend again with 2 clean sheets against against Pompey and in McGeady and Maguire you have to think that we can pick holes in their defence on a big Wembley pitch. We have also managed to take 4 points off them this season so I’m going with cautiously optimistic!
- Steven Capper
Steven’s highlighting of McGeady and Maguire is an astute call. Both love a big game, and both are capable of producing magic - hopefully McGeady is fit for the weekend.
0825 train down on Sunday, back Monday evening... excited and nervous all rolled into one. Just depends what team turns up, been two intense games against Charlton this season already.
- Daniel Gowens (@dangledowns)
Fingers crossed Sunderland have the game of their lives, Daniel.
Might be a cracking train ride back up if so.
It’s not one of those enjoy the day no matter what occasions so feels different to the checkatrade. A hell of a lot more at stake this time and be a very tough one to take if we lose... although a sick part of me does love the madness of league one.
- Andrew Bowen (@mrbowena)
Andrew notes the importance of this game and how it differs to the Checkatrade final earlier this season. The sooner we’re out of League One, the better.
Overall this season I think we have been average and frustrating with glimpses of excellence. The final is in our hands, I prey that for 90 mins the team clicks and we blow them away but I am 40 and know this seldom happens with SAFC. We will nick it by 1.
- John Ollier (@JohnOllier3)
John notes the inconsistent performances of this season - hopefully his prayers are answered this weekend.
Feels like the team have responded with the right sort of arrogance in the play offs. Don’t know if it is because they were seen as underdogs though. We don’t do favourites very well so just as well Charlton finished higher than us.
- Hummy (eathummous1)
As Hummy notes - hopefully the Lads’ give a performance with the same swagger shown over two legs against Portsmouth.
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Looking back at the first game of the season for encouragement I think we might shade it. It’s going to be tough though. I can’t believe how lucky Charlton were to get through the other night. Some shocking refereeing decisions. Sunday is do or die. Hopefully we can avoid penalties.
Hopefully squeakyb’s thoughts come true - I’m not sure that many of us could handle another penalty shootout!
Very cautious optimism. Sunderland looked better than they had for a while in those two Portsmouth games and Charlton weren’t as convincing against Doncaster as I’d expected so in those respects, we have cause for optimism in the final. That said, I still have some nagging doubts. The defence has seemed a little more solid but let’s not kid ourselves, it’s still a very suspect defence and there is a good chance Charlton will score. I think this is all the more likely because Charlton have shown the ability to score relatively freely in the last couple of months. The fact that Charlton are likely to score has to concern me because it has been ages since we’ve been a free scoring team. It seems likely that Ross will play just one up front and that has never really resulted in a lot of goals. Wyke usually looks completely isolated when he’s by himself and not really likely to score. Sure, he causes problems but it doesn’t usually result in many goals.
Slarti offers an astute insight ahead of this weekend’s game. Hopefully our wide men give Wyke the support he needs, and Sunderland defence stifle what has been an impressive Charlton attack.
Got to say it. I am feeling positive about the final. I thought Charlton were lucky against Donny. Pick the team to play at Wembley to play the pitch. It’s big so play it. Same formation as against Pompey but more pace out wide. McGeady if fit would be ideal…
Agree with Rowell here? Can Ross’ red and white wizards exploit the Wembley pitch after playing on it already this season? I personally cannot bloody wait.