Sunderland return to action this weekend, as they look to keep the pressure on their promotion-chasing rivals with a positive result.
The Black Cats are currently sat third in the League One table, and are just two points adrift of the automatic promotion places heading into their final 12 matches of this year’s campaign.
Lee Johnson’s side have been in impressive form of late, with Sunderland unbeaten in their last ten matches in all competitions, which includes a 1-0 win over Tranmere Rovers in the Papa John’s Trophy final at Wembley.
They ran out 2-0 winners over Accrington Stanley in their most recent match, and they’ll be confident of extending their unbeaten run.
But it won’t be an easy match by any stretch of the imagination, with Sunderland set to take on promotion rivals Lincoln City.
The Imps have struggled for a positive run of results in League One of late, and are without a win in their last three matches, which will make for concerning reading for the Sincil Bank faithful.
However, Lincoln remain in contention to win promotion themselves this term, with Michael Appleton’s side sat fourth in the third-tier standings.
Speaking in a post-match press conference (quotes sourced from the Sunderland Echo), Sunderland’s assistant Jamie McAllister issued an update on Aiden O’Brien’s fitness.
“Aiden O’Brien was on the grass today which was good, a few coming back very shortly and others who are a few weeks away.”
The Sunderland Echo’s Phil Smith has also revealed from the pre-match press conference that Denver Hume ‘is not far away’ from a return to action. Hume has been out of action since being forced off in their defeat to Wigan Athletic back in December 2020.
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Tom Flanagan was forced off in Sunderland’s Papa John’s Trophy final win over Tranmere Rovers, and is still ‘a week or two away’ from a return to the first-team. That remains the case with both Bailey Wright and Jordan Jones, with Jones looking to make a positive impact in his loan spell at the Stadium of Light.
Denver Hume 'not far away'.
Bailey Wright, Tom Flanagan, & Jordan Jones 'a week or two away'.
AoB back in training so hopefully not too far away either.#SAFC
— Phil Smith (@Phil__Smith) March 19, 2021
Dion Sanderson and Luke O’Nien are highly likely to retain their place in the heart of the Sunderland defence because of the lack of depth in defence for Lee Johnson’s men.
Charlie Wyke is an almost certain starter for this one, with the forward playing a starring role in their bid for promotion back into the Championship this term. The former Bradford City man has 25 goals in 39 appearances for the Black Cats this season, and will be eager to add to that tally as this year’s campaign heads into the final few months.
Sunderland could move into the automatic promotion places if other results are to go their way at the weekend, and they’ll fancy their chances of picking up a win against a struggling Lincoln City side.