Match Preview: Morecambe vs Sunderland
Sunderland go away to Morecambe for the final game of the Sky bet League One season in a game that could have huge consequences at both ends of the League table.
The Black Cats go into the game knowing that if results elsewhere go against them, they could be thrown out of the playoff places at the final hurdle.
Sheffield Wednesday, Wycombe, and Plymouth are challenging for the final three playoff spots along with Sunderland, and if the latter two better Sunderland’s result it could mean a fifth successive year in the Third tier for Sunderland.
Opponents Morecambe are in the same boat and could suffer relegation if, due to their goal difference, Fleetwood, and Gillingham both win.
Morecambe’s Mazuma Stadium will have a sellout crowd of nearly 6,500 fans, over 1,500 of those being from the North-East.
The game sees two of the league’s top goalscorers go head-to-head in Morecambe striker Cole Stockton and Sunderland forward Ross Stewart.
Stewart is currently level with Wigan’s Will Keane at the top of the scoring chart, with 24 goals, and Stockton is just one behind on 23.
The Shrimps should have a full-strength side going into the final day which will please manager Derek Adams.
The same cannot be said for the Black Cats who will be without duo Carl Winchester and Dennis Cirkin who picked up knocks in the 5-1 victory over Cambridge United.
Manager Alex Neil hopes to see the latter back in time for the Playoffs should they make them.
They will also still be without long-term absentees Jordan Willis and Aiden Mcgeady with it being unlikely that they play another game for the club with both the contracts up at the end of the season.
German Loanee Leon Dajaku, who scored in the reverse fixture, has been out due to illness in recent weeks and it remains to be seen if he will feature again before the end of his loan spell.
Morecambe suffered a 2-0 defeat last time out away to title challengers MK Dons, however, come into the game in decent form.
The Shrimps have amassed eight points from their last five, the best of any team in the bottom half of the division.
Sunderland is unbeaten in 12, since the defeat to MK Dons back in February, and are top of the form charts in that time along with fellow playoff hopefuls Wycombe.
They kept their unbeaten record intact in midweek thanks to a late Michael Ihiekwe own goal which levelled things and saw them draw with second-placed Rotherham.
The reserve fixture at the Stadium of Light saw Sunderland run out 5-0 winners in December and they will be hoping for a similar performance this weekend.
The two sides have only played each other three times in the past, once in the Papa John’s Trophy and in the EFL Cup to go with the league fixture earlier this season.
Sunderland is yet to concede to the Shrimps, winning all three games with an aggregate score of 8-0.
Kick-off is 12:30 at the Mazuma Stadium on Saturday 30th of April.