Max Power has this message for Sunderland as they prepare for crunch play-off clashes

Max Power says handling the occasion will be key to Sunderland's play-off hopes, and is confident that the experience in the Black Cats squad means they will be able to thrive.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 11:51 am

Sunderland travel to Lincoln City for the first leg of their semi final on Wednesday and Power says that they will be looking to try and establish a lead.

"For me it's who plays the occasion the best," he said.

"It's a different scenario to what the league throws up.

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Sunderland captain Max Power
Sunderland captain Max Power

"When you get into these games I don't think it matters too much how you get. You get a bit of a chance to refresh, get on the training ground.

"They're big occasions, you'd like to think with the experience we've got in the squad that we'll be able to cope with it.

"We're looking forward to it, you've got to embrace and look forward to these situations.

"Playing for Sunderland, whatever tie you go into, first or second leg, you go in looking to win the game.

"We've had a good solid week of training, it's been nice to refresh things on the training ground and work on things that we feel we can improve on.

"We're building nicely towards Wednesday."

Power says the squad are 'under no illusions' as to how tough a challenge Lincoln pose, but says confidence is high on Wearside.

"Lincoln are in the play-offs in merit, they've had a really good season," he said.

"They've got threats all over the pitch, a very pacy side with really good footballers.

"We're under no illusions as to how difficult a tie it is going to be but for us, we're Sunderland and we need to go and show what a good side we are.

"We're clearly disappointed with how the season ended but for us, that talk has been put firmly to bed.

"That's for another time, we've got a lifeline and a second chance to achieve our goal of promotion so we're fully focused on doing that.

"We've shown this season that if we play at our best, we're one of the best sides in the division.

"We're under no illusions, we're going to have to be at our best to get past Lincoln."

Power also believes that Sunderland will benefit from having 10,000 fans in the Stadium of Light for the second leg on Saturday.

"I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

“It’s been a weird, eerie 12 months and I’ve definitely felt that we’ve missed the fans at home games.

“I’m looking forward to it for the management staff who’ve not experienced our fans and the lads who signed over the last two windows.

“To have 10,000 fans in the Stadium of Light at the end of the weekend after missing so much football, I’m sure they’ll sound like 30,000.

“Even at Lincoln, it’ll be nice to play in an atmosphere and I’m sure it’ll add to the occasion. I’m sure the lads here will respond to it.

"I’ve played in many games here where you get the goal and the place just erupts.

"We won’t have full capacity obviously but I’m sure anyone lucky enough to get a ticket will be desperate to get in there and back us.”

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