Ex-Sunderland striker issues rousing rallying call to fans ahead of Portsmouth clash: 'We are SAFC and it is not done yet'

Sunderland AFC host Portsmouth at the Stadium of Light on Saturday evening.
Sunderland AFC host Portsmouth at the Stadium of Light on Saturday evening.
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Stephen Elliott has issued a rousing rallying call to the Black Cats fanbase: ‘We are Sunderland and it is not done yet.’

Sunderland host Portsmouth at the Stadium of Light on Saturday night (KO 7.30pm) in the first leg of the League One play-off semi final.

With so much at stake, it is perhaps surprising that as of Friday morning a little over 22,000 tickets had been sold for the game, not including the 2,000 travelling Pompey fans or hospitality packages.

Sunderland have averaged well over 30,000 for League One home games this season and former striker Elliott has outlined the significant positive impact the SAFC faithful can have.

There had been high hopes this season that the Black Cats would win automatic promotion back to the Championship but after a disappointing final few weeks of the season finished fifth and facing the lottery of the play-offs.

Jack Ross insists the mood within the Sunderland camp is vibrant heading into the game after putting aside the disappointment of missing out on the top two.

Sunderland AFC coverage in association with John G Hogg.

Sunderland AFC coverage in association with John G Hogg.

And ex-striker Elliott hopes they will be backed by another huge crowd for the visit of Pompey on Saturday night.

Addressing the Sunderland fans direct, Elliott told the Wise Men Say podcast: “Fanatical support is what people think about when Sunderland football club is mentioned, don’t be disappointing the watching public on Saturday when the game is broadcast.

“Yes, the team has struggled of late but your support is needed now more than ever.

“The big moments on the pitch I had personally playing for Sunderland were only made special by having you crazy support there.

Former Sunderland striker Stephen Elliott.

Former Sunderland striker Stephen Elliott.

“Without you I probably wouldn’t have the Championship winning goal at West Ham on a pedestal as my favourite goal in my whole career, your passion when the ball hit the net gave me an out of body experience.

“My spine is tingling just thinking about it, for that I will be forever grateful.

“You only have to ask Carlos Edwards if that goal against Burnley at the stadium was his favourite moment in a red and white top. Of course, it is.

“Why? Because of the noise and electricity you fans made when it hit the net.

“It was unbelievable and it really lifted the squad that season.

“It is the biggest game of the season by far on Saturday so if one of the players happens to do something magical, make sure it is in front of a packed out crowd.

“Believe me it will create a moment that will live with you and the player forever.

“It will also lift the team and hopefully push them on to qualify for the final.

“It has been a long season and a tough one in recent weeks but we are Sunderland and it is not done yet.”