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“Not fearful” – Sunderland boss Alex Neil on taking his side to Hillsborough for Sheffield Wednesday clash

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Sunderland have the advantage heading into the next leg of the League One play-off semi-final against Sheffield Wednesday, with the Black Cats stealing a 1-0 win on Friday to put them in front.

However, the Owls will fancy their chances of overturning that deficit on Monday and especially at their own ground, in front of a packed out crowd. Alex Neil though, who will be hoping to keep that lead intact and take his side to the final, has told Mail Online that he is ‘not fearful’ of taking his team to any away ground and is seemingly confident of a good result.

Sunderland have certainly turned their fortunes around under their new boss. They were still in with a shout of the top six spots earlier on in the campaign but after some patchy form and a heavy defeat to Bolton, it was the final straw for Lee Johnson.

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The ex-manager was relieved of his duties and in came Neil to try and sort things out. The former Preston boss was not the supporter’s first choice but he has slowly won them around and only one defeat since he has taken over at the Stadium of Light has booked them a place in the play-offs and given them a chance at promotion.

The club will certainly feel then that they are heading in the right direction under their new boss – and will still feel confident of getting something from the next game against Wednesday, even if it is at Hillsborough.

Alex Neil certainly is, as he told the Mail Online that he is ‘confident’ in his team getting the result they need. He said when asked about whether the Owls would have a similar support to the one Sunderland had in the first match: “We know it’s going to be doubly difficult on Monday because they will do likewise in terms of the atmosphere.

“But I’m confident in this group, and hopefully people can see that. I’m not fearful of going anywhere, we’ve been to big stadiums and won.”

The Verdict

Alex Neil has worked wonders already at Sunderland in getting the team to click and gel again. His record so far speaks for itself and you would fancy the Black Cats as one of the favourites to not only see off Wednesday but get that promotion too.

There is still plenty of work to be done but the club have shown they are capable of getting the job done since Neil took over. They’ve been defensively sound, offensively brilliant and have grinded out results even when they haven’t been able to play at their best.

That is exactly what a good team needs to be capable of doing and Sunderland have done that. The first game wasn’t Sunderland’s finest 90 minutes of football but they still managed to be on top for most of the game and took their chances when they came, with Ross Stewart getting the only goal of the fixture.

If they produce a similar showing on Monday, it might be a nerve-wracking one, but they could certainly book their place in the play-off final.


Writer for Football League World.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: “Not fearful” – Sunderland boss Alex Neil on taking his side to Hillsborough for Sheffield Wednesday clash

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