Revealed: How Sunderland, Portsmouth, Blackpool, Charlton, Lincoln and Oxford's head-to-head meetings compare as play-off picture takes shape
Sunderland will be hoping to regain some momentum and finish in the play-offs after a seven-match winless run - but how have Lee Johnson’s side fared against the teams around them?
The Black Cats have been beaten by Blackpool (twice) and Charlton in recent weeks but have also recorded some impressive results against other sides who could finish in the top six.
We’ve taken a closer look at how Sunderland and their potential League One play-off opponents have fared against the sides around them.
Blackpool in good shape
With Hull already promoted and Peterborough seemingly set to join them in the second automatic promotion spot, the race to reach the League One play-offs will now take centre stage.
Despite their poor run of form, Sunderland look set to finish in the top six, even if their place isn’t quite guaranteed, and the Black Cats have a mixed record against their direct rivals.
After compiling a league table from Lincoln in third to Charlton in eighth, including just the results against each other, results show that Blackpool are in a promising position.
The Tangerines have picked up 20 points out of a possible 30 against the teams around them, more than Lincoln (14), Sunderland (14), Charlton (14), Portsmouth (10) and Oxford (six).
Neil Critchley’s side have beaten both Sunderland and Portsmouth twice this season, with their only two defeats against the aforementioned teams coming courtesy of late goals against Charlton (1-0) and Lincoln (3-2).
Mixed results for Sunderland
Sunderland’s results against the sides around them had been encouraging until their recent run.
The Black Cats have taken four points off Lincoln, won at Portsmouth and beat Oxford twice this campaign.
Johnson’s side have also scored the most goals against their play-off rivals (14), one more than Blackpool and Lincoln, although the Black Cats’ 4-0 win over Lincoln in December helped.
The other three teams in contention for a top-six spot have found it tougher to find the net against their nearest competitors, with Portsmouth scoring eight times in ten games, Charlton eight in nine and Oxford four in ten.
Defensively, Sunderland have managed to keep clean sheets in wins over Portsmouth, Lincoln and Oxford but have conceded nine times in the 10 games against their potential play-off opponents.
That’s more than Blackpool (six) and Charlton (seven), but less than Portsmouth (11), Lincoln (14) and Oxford (14).
What can we read into this?
Of course there will be varying factors when it comes to the play-offs, yet recent performances and how teams match up against one another will play a part.
Sunderland have shown they can perform well in big games this season, against the sides they may be facing in the play-offs, yet recent displays against Blackpool and Charlton may leave some scar tissue.
Blackpool certainly seem to have a lot going for them as the play-offs picture takes shape, given their results this season and recent wins over the Black Cats.
Lincoln and Charlton have also performed well against most of their main challengers, while Portsmouth and Oxford have struggled in such games.
As we know, though, anything can happen in one-off games, and first Sunderland must secure their place in the top six.