Sunderland managed to pull off a 1-0 win in the first leg of their League One play-off semi-final against Sheffield Wednesday to give themselves the advantage heading into Monday night – and the good news is they could have that same team available again.
When the play-off competition rolls around, the games initially come thick and fast. After a season of 46 games in which teams often have to play in both midweek and then at the weekend, the quick turnaround doesn’t stop there.
There could be some fears then that fitness is not quite there with some of the team that managed to pull off that initial Black Cats victory on Friday. However, Alex Neil has revealed to the Sunderland Echo this morning that everything should be A-OK with his current squad and that they should all be available for selection again.
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Some of the players in his team have featured frequently over the course of the League One campaign this year, with eight players playing in 35 games or more so far.
With three more games added on at the end of the season – and two of those coming within four days of each other – it could be quite easy for a few of those in the team to become unfit and unable to feature.
The good news though is that, with a big game on the way and plenty on the line for the Black Cats, they could be able to choose from the same pool of players that secured that initial 1-0 victory on Friday night.
Speaking to the Sunderland Echo about the fitness of his team, Alex Neil said: “Everyone seems to be OK. The lads were in yesterday afternoon, it’s always difficult after a night game in terms of your sleep.
“But they’ve had a good rest now, they’ll be back in this afternoon and then we’ll take a view on how they are.”
The news that there could be no fresh injury concerns for Sunderland ahead of a massive play-off second leg will be music to the ears of the club’s supporters.
There is now fresh hope that a promotion to the Championship could finally be on the cards for them again after a tumultuous few years at the Stadium of Light. Alex Neil has come in and solidified the team and made them hard to beat – and Wednesday have already experienced that on Friday night.
Both sides will go into the game on Monday better prepared for what the other has to offer. The game plans will be altered and the approaches also shall be changed as both clubs try desperately to seal a win and book a place in the play-off final.
Sunderland though have the upper hand right now and if Alex Neil can get things right again and his team can give it one final push, then they could soon be on their way to Wembley.