Saturday 21st May 2022
Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers
Sky Bet League One
Tickets & Match Coverage
Tickets: Tickets sold out.
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via Sky Sports.
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Radio Newcastle (not online)
Well, here we are again, our fourth play-off final in the club's history, and just like the other three, it’s huge.
We are one game away from ending our stay in League One and avoiding a fifth season in the third tier, and unlike our last appearance, we approach the game in good form. Alex Neil’s side are unbeaten in 15 games and have only conceded three goals in the previous eight fixtures on the road.
Confidence is high, and listening to Alex Neil in the pre-match press conference he’s approaching this as just another game – and if we carry on as we have in other games recently, we might be alright.
All eyes will be on the team selection when it’s announced in terms of changes from the side that took us beyond Sheffield Wednesday in the semi-final. It was the first time Neil has gone with an unchanged line-up, and if he makes any changes it would suggest a different game plan could be deployed to face Gareth Ainsworth’s side.
In four months' time Gareth Ainsworth will be marking ten years as manager of Wycombe Wanderers and today he will find out whether the anniversary will be celebrated as a League One or Championship club.
Many observers have Wycombe as underdogs to claim victory this afternoon. But, looking at recent history, it’s The Chairboys who are not only aiming to return to the second tier at the first time of asking, but are also a side who recently claimed victory in the League One play-off final at Wembley.
It was only two years ago when, in May 2020, they beat Oxford United 2-1 in the final to reach the Championship, and they were unfortunate to drop straight back down to League One.
This season has been another year of achievement for Ainsworth’s side, finishing in the play-offs ahead of some of the fancied clubs like Portsmouth and Ipswich Town, who had much bigger budgets.
Before the second leg against MK Dons, Wycombe were unbeaten in 13 games and have been there and done that when it comes to the play-offs, and Alex Neil will not be underestimating Wycombe Wanderers this afternoon.
During 90 minutes the bookies are favouring a Sunderland win at 23/20, with Wycombe at 23/10, which is also the price for a draw. To simply win on the day and be promoted The Lads are 8/13 with Wanderers at 6/5, and both sides are 11/1 to win on penalties.
In terms of a correct score, a 1-0 win for Sunderland and a 1-1 draw is the shortest at 11/1, followed by 15/2 for 0-0.
Head to head...
- Sunderland wins: 2
- Draws: 3
- Wycombe Wanderers wins: 1
- Sunderland goals: 12
- Wycombe Wanderers goals: 7
Last time we met...
Saturday 8th January 2022
Sky Bet League One
Wycombe Wanderers 3-3 Sunderland
[Mehmeti 13’, Vokes 36’, Jacobson 98’ - Stockdale (OG) 3’, Stewart 39’, 93’]
Sunderland: Patterson, Winchester, Flanagan, Doyle, Cirkin, Gooch, Evans (Diamond), Neil, Embleton, Pritchard, R. Stewart Substitutes not used: Carney, Hume, Younger, Xhemajli, Taylor, Hawkes
Wycombe Wanderers: Stockdale, Grimmer, Obita, A. Stewart (De Barr), Forino, Jacobson, Scowen, McCleary, Vokes (Akinfenwa) Hanlan, Mehmeti (Horgan) Substitutes not used: Przybek, Tafazolli, Pendlebury, Thompson
Played for both...
Hemel Hempstead-born O’Nien began his career at Watford before being picked up by Wycombe Wanderers as a free agent after his contract was not renewed by the Vicarage Road club.
He made over 100 appearances at Adams Park before signing for The Lads in the summer of 2018 as we dropped into League One. O’Nien is quickly approaching his 200th appearance for the club and will be hoping to make the starting XI against his former club at Wembley.
Scowen began his career with Wycombe, making his debut in 2011, and it wasn’t until 2015 that he left to sign for Barnsley. After two years in South Yorkshire he moved to London to join Queens Park Rangers, where he spent a successful three years until the January transfer window in 2020 when he moved to the Stadium of Light.
The midfielder spent 18 months on Wearside making 55 appearances until he left last summer when his contract expired. He re-signed for Wycombe and will likely be in the middle of the park for our opponents at Wembley this afternoon.