Sunderland boss has message for fans ahead of Sheffield Wednesday plus Derby County ‘exploring’ shock Leicester and Stoke City option that could impact SAFC fans

Alex Neil has delivered his pre-match message to Black Cats fans.

Here, we round-up some of the latest stories that have emerged today surrounding Sunderland and the rest of the division:

Alex Neil’s play-off message

Ahead of tonight’s League One play-off semi-final first-leg clash with Sheffield Wednesday, Alex Neil has thanked supporters for their commitment this campaign and believes that the pressure of the game will ‘bring the best’ out of his team at the Stadium of Light this evening:

“First and foremost, I would like to thank all of you for the outstanding support you have provided the team with throughout the duration of the season.” Neil wrote in his programme notes ahead of tonight’s game.

“Home and away, we appreciate the backing you provide and tonight will be no different as over 42,000 supporters create what I’m sure will be a memorable atmosphere.

“I took this job knowing the expectancy and it was one of the key elements that attracted me to come here – I like working under pressure and being expected to deliver.

“I think that brings the best out of people and I believe the players are also used to that now.

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Sunderland boss Alex Neil. (Picture by FRANK REID)

It’s going to be a tough game and it’s going to be a big atmosphere, but we will be ready.”

Supporters have been urged to get to their seats early in-order to participate in what has been described as the 'most complex display the Stadium of Light has ever seen'.

Derby situation

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Elsewhere, Derby County’s ownership situation still remains unresolved and one intriguing detail has emerged that could affect visiting clubs next season.

According to reports, Derby have been exploring the option of playing their home games at alternative venues if they cannot find a resolution between any potential new owners and their former owner Mel Morris.

Stoke City’s Bet 365 Stadium and Leicester City’s King Power Stadium have reportedly emerged as potential venues for Derby to play their ‘home’ games next season, should they be unable to play at Pride Park.

Speaking to Rams TV, preferred bidder Chris Kirchner detailed the problems, saying: “Because it [Pride Park] is not part of the administration it has added a layer of complexity in trying to get this deal done because of the different parties that have to make decisions on it.”