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Score Predictions: Are we backing Sunderland to get off to a good start in the play-offs?

It’s play-off time again and here’s what our predictors think we’ll get on in the first leg at Lincoln City!

Photo by Zac Goodwin/PA Images via Getty Images

Last Time Out...

Nobody predicted the struggle against Northampton Town as we wrapped up our league campaign ahead of the play-offs and we are as we were going into the first leg.

Let’s find out if our panel back us today as we review this round of predictions...

Philip Butler Predicts...

Score Prediction: Lincoln City 0-2 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Lynden Gooch

Sunderland have already put in the perfect play-off away leg performance against tonight’s opponents and although another 3-0 win is unlikely, Lee Johnson will be hoping to mastermind a similar result using the same counter-attacking game plan.

That means a clean sheet should be likely for the men in red and white, and any goals scored at the other end are likely to be through pacey wide men rather than a McGeady cross to Wyke.

For this reason I’m going for a 2-0 win for the Lads, and Lynden Gooch to be preferred to Diamond and Jones and get his name on the scoresheet. At 2-0 the tie would certainly not be over, but it would make Sunderland strong favourites to progress to their second Wembley trip this season.

Sunderland v Northampton Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Malcolm Dugdale Predicts...

Score Prediction: Lincoln City 1-1 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Charlie Wyke

I’m quite nervous about this game, mainly off the back of the fact we could hardly raise an eyebrow against Northampton at home, grabbing a draw with a very weird tap in off a cross/shot that did better than anyone planned.

The win before that was convincing in terms of score, but was against ten men for a good while which really made a difference. We aren’t clicking and we need to.

This game really could go either way but as an east midlands resident, I have a few mates who grew up around Lincoln and they think this season could be a touch too soon for them to go up, and I think, like the games so far this season, they won’t have enough to beat us. Draw down there any a win at home and we are all good.

Sunderland v Accrington Stanley - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Matthew Foster Predicts...

Score Prediction: Lincoln City 0-1 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Jordan Jones

Out of all the potential semi-final’s, I think most of us would have preferred Lincoln over the others. But despite us having had the upper hand (and being unbeaten) in the three meetings between the sides this season, we simply cannot underestimate them.

They fully deserve their place in the play-off’s, and will be keen to really have a go, despite not being the favourites. We simply can’t mess this up. We all remember the play-off horror stories, and the agony that come with them.

Lincoln will be boosted by their returning fans, and it will be amazing to have some form of atmosphere. I think it will be a nervy affair, but avoiding defeat is the biggest priority.

And I’m sure the 10,000 lucky fans there on Saturday will back the lads in full voice and drag us over the line

Sunderland v Northampton Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Jack Howe-Gingell Predicts...

Score Prediction: Lincoln City 0-1 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Jordan Jones

The old enemy returns. I’m never confident going into any play-offs and our recent form has not helped that feeling in any capacity. A dismal 1-1 draw with Northampton was hardly the bounce we needed going into what could be the first game of three that would see us promoted.

Fortunately, Lincoln aren’t exactly firing on all cylinders with no wins in their last three, though the return of Jorge Grant will need attention.

I’m hoping that we go with a 4-3-3 and look to control the game in the middle. The defence has looked exposed and I feel this is the best way to get a grip of the game. We really need our big game players to step up, and I believe the likes of McGeady and Jones will relish the Playoff environment.

I think if we can take a narrow lead, it will give us the platform to make the final. Out of those in the Playoffs, Lincoln represent the easiest side (other than us) to face and hopefully we will have found some renewed confidence to bring this home.

Plymouth Argyle v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Will Jones Predicts...

Score Prediction: Lincoln City 1-2 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: Aiden McGeady

So here we are again, three games from potential promotion and the only team in our way to Wembley is Lincoln City. A team that also tailed off to toward the end of the season sees the two least in form teams going into the play offs go head to head.

Having watched the championship first legs, fans returning have created a tense atmosphere with chances at a premium. However when you go down the leagues the more open it will surely be.

I believe we have enough to take a lead back up north and put in a performance of the ilk of December at Sincil Bank or of Fratton park. Hopefully the 10 days rest allows for training and for focus to be there, and despite a set back in game, I believe we can win and take a huge step toward promotion.

Sunderland v Northampton Town - Sky Bet League One - Stadium of Light Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Martin Wanless Predicts...

Score Prediction: Lincoln City 0-0 Sunderland

Sunderland’s first goalscorer: N/A

I suspect Lee Johnson’s focus will be on getting back to a crowd-filled SoL on at least level terms, and I imagine he’ll therefore go into tonight’s fixture with a focus on defence.

Lincoln could well be cautious too, after all, a repeat of the league fixture at Sincil Bank would (almost) render the second leg almost redundant (although I’d be convinced we’d find a way to make it nail biting!) so they’ll be focused on not getting caught on the counter.

In these types of games I’d have usually backed us to score from a set piece, which then opens things up a bit – just like at Fratton Park a few months ago – but the quality of our set plays has been pretty poor recently, so I don’t hold much hope there.

Obviously I’d much rather we won convincingly but a 0-0 won’t be the worst result in the world. Sets up the second leg nicely, anyway!


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