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Lincoln City v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One

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Sunderland need to finish off in style!

As the curtains close on our standard fixture list on Sunday, it might seem like a free hit against Northampton - but getting that winning habit is vital.

Photo by Andrew Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

Winning is just great, isn’t it?

There was a moment though, against Plymouth where I felt we were going to throw away yet more points from a winning position, or at least from a position where we’d played another side off the park.

Their equaliser was quintessential Sunderland - lackadaisical defending, with the inability to jump and challenge for a header, and the easiest of headed goals for their lad Edwards up top. It was then where I thought, “Oh, here we go... how are we going to find a way to lose this one then?”

Then they had Opoku sent off, deservedly, and we went on to win quite favourably in the end, 3-1 with a penalty from Maguire and a tap-in from Hume. Happy days!

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

Lee Johnson has proven now, that the nickname “Streaky Lee” is quite apt and, while I’m not being negative about him, doubt had certainly started to set in after seven consecutive League One games without a win.

I’m just hoping now we’ve had a positive result (even without McGeady and Wyke in the side) that we can build on that and gain that much needed momentum.

I, personally, have all the faith in the world in our man at the helm though, and cannot wait to see what he and his team behind the scenes do with their first transfer window in the summer.

What does this all mean for the Northampton game... and, is it important?

Without sounding like I’m stating the obvious, I think a win against the Cobblers would stand us in good stead for the play-offs - building momentum and confidence in the meantime, especially when it’s possible that Wyke and McGeady may not be fully fit for the all important extension to the season.

Sunderland v Blackpool - Sky Bet League One
Will Aiden McGeady be fully fit ahead if the play-offs?
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Strong performances from Jack Diamond and Ross Stewart against Argyle diminished any sense of dread that may have been held for the loss of the two talismanic players, which has led to Johnson having a selection dilemma for midday Sunday.

The energetic Stewart led the line on his own in impressive fashion, battling for everything, running into the channels affectively and scoring a brilliant goal from a through ball from Lynden Gooch. In addition, Jack Diamond was one of our most potent threats throughout the game, running at defenders and causing problems almost every time he had the ball, until he was brought off in the 65th minute.

Will Johnson trust Diamond and Stewart in the play-offs? I suppose only time will tell. Here’s hoping they can have a good game against Northampton, and cause the manager a real headache in terms of selection.

Northampton themselves are quite the anomaly, having sacked Keith Curle earlier this year, a manager who the fans still appear to want as manager (if Twitter is anything to go by, of course), and replaced him with Australian Jon Brady, who has only ever worked at a youth level.

Northampton Town v Blackpool - Sky Bet League One
Northampton Town’s manager Jon Brady
Photo by John Cripps/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Town were, of course, doomed to relegation to League Two days ago when beaten by Blackpool 3-0, having been largely fancied to beat the drop at the beginning of the season.

So you’d think there would be nothing to play for right?

The Cobblers will travel up here with absolutely no pressure on them whatsoever, and we all know how a team love to come to the Stadium of Light and cause an upset - so the potential is always there for us to slip on the most obvious of banana skins!

Either way, I feel Sunderland need to win this to show any impetus of going into the play-offs to provide us the springboard to scenes once more at Wembley, and this time with the prospect of fans being there to witness it. The momentum of beating a side comfortably, like Northampton, cannot go understated and we should go out there on Sunday and get as many as we can on the scoresheet.

Early Prediction (absolutely subject to change as the week goes on!): 4-1.

Ha’way the lads!

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