Sunderland favourite Kevin Phillips has suggested that Lee Johnson’s men may not necessarily benefit from the return of fans at the Stadium of Light this weekend.
The Black Cats take on Lincoln, in front of home supporters, before the return leg on Wearside on Saturday.
It promises to be a special occasion for the Sunderland players and fans for such an important game, but Phillips told Football Insider that whilst they could have a positive impact, they could also present a problem to the home side.
“It will have an effect, I don’t care what anyone says. Hopefully it’s a good effect. That will be the second leg of the tie so if Sunderland go into that game behind, the fans will be right behind them.
“If things don’t go to plan, there will soon be unrest and things can become uncomfortable. The players will be able to hear individual voices. It’s going to be tough. Some of those players have never played in front of a crowd at the Stadium of Light so it’s a different ball game for them.”
Sunderland are unbeaten in three games against the Imps this season.
Does the Stadium of Light have a higher or lower capacity than these 18 grounds?
You can understand what Phillips is saying, because there’s no doubt a crowd changes the dynamics of the game and it will increase the pressure on the players.
However, in such a big game the support will be 100% behind the players so this is only a positive for the team and they will be delighted to have that backing.
Now, the focus is on ensuring they bring a positive result back to the Stadium of Light as they try to book their place at Wembley.
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