Why Lynden Gooch feels Sunderland's huge clash against Sheffield Wednesday is different to previous League One play-off campaigns

Lynden Gooch says this play-off campaign feels different to previous years – with Sunderland coming in with momentum ahead of their semi-final clash against Sheffield Wednesday.

Thursday, 5th May 2022, 6:00 am

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The Black Cats are on a 13-match unbeaten run heading into Friday’s first leg at the Stadium of Light, with over 40,000 tickets sold for the fixture on Wearside.

This is the third time in four seasons that Sunderland have ended up in the League One play-offs, yet their form going into the fixtures is much better compared to previous campaigns.

When asked how the team is feeling ahead of Friday’s match, Gooch, who has been at Sunderland since 2012, told the club’s website: “Confident. Obviously we’ve been on a good run to finish the season.

Lynden Gooch playing for Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Picture by FRANK REID

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“It’s a bit different to other seasons when we have gone into the play-offs sort of petering out a little bit so we are looking forward to it.

“I think we have played some really good football at times as well and at this stage of the season it’s about results. These next two games are going to be the exact same.

“I’ve been desperate to achieve promotion out of this league for the club and hopefully we can get this one over the line.”

Wednesday are also on an impressive run and won six of their last eight league games to finish fourth, a point ahead of Sunderland, in the League One table.

The Black Cats beat Wednesday 5-0 at the Stadium of Light back in December, while Darren Moore’s team won 3-0 in November’s reverse fixture at Hillsborough.

When asked about The Owls, Gooch replied: “They have got a lot of experience, a lot of Championship experience as well so we know it’s going to be tough.

“It was a tough away game there and they had a tough game here. It’s definitely not going to be easy so we need to be ready.”

"It’s two really good sides and it’s going to be a really tough battle and one we are all looking forward to.”

MK Dons and Wycombe will compete in the other semi-final, with the League One play-off final set to take place at Wembley on Saturday, May 21.