'Absolutely electric!': The Sunderland dressing room view on the return of 10,000 fans for Lincoln City clash
Carl Winchester says he can’t wait to experience the ‘absolutely electric’ atmosphere that Sunderland fans will generate in the play-offs.
The midfielder, who joined the Black Cats from Forest Green Rovers in January, is one of a host of players who is yet to play in front of a vocal home crowd on Wearside.
But with up to 10,000 fans set to return for the second leg of the play-off semi-final against Lincoln City on May 22, Winchester is relishing the chance to play in front of the limited crowd.
His only experience of Sunderland’s support thus far has come via ‘Sunderland ‘Til I Die’ on Netflix – but that will soon end.
"From watching the series and what I've heard about the fans here, once it gets rocking it's absolutely electric,” said Winchester.
"It's something I'm really looking forward to.
"It's the play-offs and anything can happen. It's the magic of the play-offs, but we'll just get rest and prepare for it.”
Rest will be key for Sunderland ahead of the semi-finals with the hectic schedule affording little time for recuperation in recent weeks.
And Winchester feels that break, coupled with more time to work with Lee Johnson on the training ground, will prove a help.
"I don't think we've had a full week of training with the manager,” he explained.
"It's just been Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday, so it's hard for him to implement stuff into the squad.
"But now he's got that week of rest I'm sure he'll have stuff planned for us.
"Since I've come in it's been a monstrous list of fixtures so the lads have done brilliantly to get through it.”
With the first leg at Sincil Bank now under a week away, the Black Cats will be beginning to analyse their opponents – whom Winchester feels will prove a stern test.
"Lincoln have showed this season that they're a good squad.
"They're well-organised and they have some good young players. When we played them this season the games were tight so the lads will know what they're all about and it's going to be a tough game.”