After finishing fourth in the league, Sheffield Wednesday face Sunderland in the first stage of the play-offs, with the first leg taking place at the Stadium of Light tomorrow evening.
The winner across two legs will go on to face either Wycombe Wanderers or MK Dons in the League One play-off final.
Wednesday midfielder George Byers feels that his side having the home advantage in the second leg could be “massive” in their push for promotion.
The 25-year-old told Yorkshire Live: “It’s massive for us that the second leg is at home. You’ve seen what the crowd is like. It was incredible [against Portsmouth], and that just pushes us on to do the best that we can. That’s what we need.”
Although Byers feels playing at Hillsborough for the second leg will help his side, they will still have to get a good result against Sunderland tomorrow to put themselves in a strong position to progress.
However, the Wednesday midfielder is not underestimating his opponents, as he said: “It’s going to be a tough game. They’re a good side with good players, but we’re a good side with good players as well.
“It’ll be tough, but we’ll go into it confident and if we stick to our game plan and know what we’re good at, then hopefully we’ll get the job done. We need to stick to the game play that’s set out for us, and if we stick to what we’re good at then we know what we’re capable of.”
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The two teams have met twice this season with Wednesday winning 3-0 at Hillsborough. Sunderland, though, won 5-0 when they were the home side.
Reflecting on their meetings so far, Byers said: “We’re level over both games. It was 3-0 when we won, so I wouldn’t say we owe them one, but obviously the last game was nowhere near the levels that we’re capable of playing.”
This will likely be a very close play-off contest and both sides have strong support, so will feel the support when playing at home.
You only have to look at the results from this season to see that both sides were encouraged by their home support to go and win the game.
However, if Wednesday can get a decent result in the first leg, they go into the home leg knowing the support they will have on their side could really be the boost they need to get them over the line.