Sunderland currently sit fifth in the League One table, but with the top of the table being so close, they are only a point above Plymouth and Wycombe meaning whether or not they finish in the top six will come down Saturday’s final round of regular season games.
The Black Cats face Morecambe on Saturday and although they are favourites on paper to beat the team in 19th, Morecambe go into the game only two points clear of the relegation zone meaning they could need a win to keep themselves up.
To guarantee a top six finish, Sunderland must win their game otherwise their fate depends on the results of Plymouth and Wycombe.
However, Sunderland defender Bailey Wright sees the importance of the game as a good thing and believes his side can handle it as he told The Northern Echo: “Pressure is pressure, and you don’t come to a club like Sunderland to have an easy ride.
“You want to be part of something great and, as a group, have an opportunity to go and do that.
“We have to win on Saturday to make sure things are sealed. Morecambe are going to give us a tough game again, and their team are also fighting.
“This is what you play football for – as a kid, you want to be in games that matter , you want to make history and be part of successful. All of that comes with pressure, and that’s why we love the game and play the game. As a group, we should thrive on those situations, and I think we will.”
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The top of the table has been close all season and with there being four teams who still don’t have their play-off spot secured, the tension isn’t dying down now and Wright said: “I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it, but this is why we love football.
“The standard has been really good in the division this year, super competitive. There’s some big hitters in the division that aren’t even going to make the play-offs.
“We knew at the start of the year the division was probably going to be the toughest it’s been. But great, bring on the challenge because the bigger the challenge, the bigger the reward. We certainly want it and we’ve put ourselves in a position where we can go on and make sure it happens.”
The final weekend in League One is going to be one full of nerves for many teams meaning most squads will be in a similar boat.
However, Sunderland may be well equipped to deal with it due to the amount of pressure they face playing for the team on a regular basis given the expectations that come alongside that.
Despite being well ahead of them in the table, Sunderland are not going to have an easy game against Morecambe and will have to be at their best on Saturday.