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Ex-Aston Villa and England man predicts top-six finish for Sunderland in Championship

Lee Hendrie has predicted that Sunderland will finish in the top-six spots in the Championship this season.

Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 11:00 am

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The Black Cats will play Championship football next season after defeating Wycombe Wanderers in the League One play-off final at Wembley Stadium last month.

This afternoon, the fixtures were released with Sunderland set to face Coventry City at home in their first game back in the second tier in five years. The clash at the Stadium of Light is a lunchtime kick-off on Sunday July 31st, and will be the first time the two sides have met since March 2020.

Talk has already turned towards where clubs could finish now that the fixtures have been released, with ex-England and Aston Villa man Hendrie predicting a top-six finish for Sunderland.

MANSFIELD, ENGLAND - MAY 14: Sky Sports football pundit Lee Hendrie looks on prior to the Sky Bet League Two Play-off Semi Final 1st Leg match between Mansfield Town and Northampton Town at One Call Stadium on May 14, 2022 in Mansfield, England. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

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"I have got them down in my top-six as well,” Hendrie said to Sky Sports. “The way I look at Sunderland is that they have been out of the Championship but they are destined for top-flight football.

"It has took some time. They have had to change managers. Alex Neil has come in and done a brilliant job and finally got them into the Championship. I do feel this is going to be a springboard for them, I really do.

"I just think that a football club of that stature and that size. The fans. Their home form is going to be so key for them this season when you are getting 30,000-35,000 plus in the Championship. Not many sides get that. I feel like that can be an extra man for a football team. Sunderland will be bouncing high and they will have every chance.”