Sunderland must overcome away demons in League One if they are to triumph at Lincoln City
Sunderland travel to Lincoln this weekend backed by another sell-out away allocation and the way the previous away games have gone I don’t think any fan will know exactly what to expect.
Sunderland have played five League One away games this season, that have included two wins at Rochdale and Accrington, a fortunate draw at Ipswich that could have been a defeat, a draw at Bolton that felt like a defeat and a best forgotten three goal thumping at Peterborough.
So, what we will get on Saturday is anyone’s guess. Lincoln are a newly promoted club and as such, promoted teams are always on a high early in the season.
Saying that, after a promising start the Imps lost their last home game 6-0 to Oxford, an astonishing scoreline and probably one of the most bizarre results in League One so far.
I can’t believe they will be as bad as that on Saturday, I hope they are but I am more inclined to believe it was a one-off and they will surely be far more resilient against Sunderland.
It will also be a huge occasion when the biggest club in the division rolls into town so that is sure to motivate the Lincoln players to banish the memory of their last home game and prove to their fans they are a good team at League One level.
Last season, Luton were a newly promoted team that went on to win League One so if I was a Lincoln player I would be using them as inspiration but while there is no way Lincoln will top this league, I think they have a fighting chance of a play-off place.
Lincoln will also have their new manager on show for his first official home game and we all know about new manager bounce so that is just something else Sunderland are going to have to deal with.
However, more importantly, Sunderland have to deal with their own demons, especially on the road because if they perform anywhere near like they did in their recent away games at Peterborough and Bolton the journey back from Lincoln to Wearide won’t be enjoyable for anyone.
Maybe the answer is for the players to go into Carabao Cup mode because whatever they are doing in that tournament it is working with a flawless record of three out of three wins on opposition soil, two of them against Premier League teams.