Sunderland AFC are set to take on Luton Town this Saturday in an epic clash for a place in the play-off final.
The two clubs have faced each other four times since Sunderland’s relegation to League One, all of which finished as 1-1 draws.
The Championship’s dramatic final day saw the Black Cats defy all the odds in a brilliant 3-0 victory over Preston, to secure their play-off spot.
Luton however, had nothing to play for, as they had already secured their play-off position, which resulted in an anticlimactic 0-0 draw against Hull.
How to watch the game/essential information
Sunderland AFC have asked fans to arrive to the stadium 20 minutes before kick off.
The Spirit of ’37 are going to be working with the club in order to create a display similar to that of last seasons play-off display.
A statement from Sunderland AFC read: “#SAFC and the Spirit of ’37 are working side-by-side ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship Play-Off semi-final to create another iconic atmosphere at the Stadium of Light.”
Sky Sports will also be broadcasting the game on SkyFootball, with coverage expected to start from 4:30pm.
Players to watch
Photo – planet football
They say that “you should never fall in love with a loan player”, well Diallo is a living embodiment of that phrase.
Diallo, quite frankly, has been the star of Tony Mowbray’s squad this season.
His wonder strike against Preston last Saturday was a catalyst for what would come after, lifting both the fans and the squad to new heights.
He has had a brilliant season in the Championship so far, scoring 13 goals, with three assists.
With Sunderland’s main striker, Ross Stewart, being unable to return for the play-offs, the Black Cats will surely turn to their current top goal scorer to carry them through the first-leg.
Photo – Footballleagueworld.com
Jack Clarke has been one of the Black Cats’ stand out players of the 22/23 Championship season.
He scored Sunderland’s third goal against Preston on Saturday, brining his total goals to 11 in all competitions this season.
Clarke also has great ability to create goals, assisting a total of 12 times this season, and also assisting against Preston on top of his superb goal.
The lack of a tall number nine in Sunderland’s squad this season has certainly hindered Clarke at times, but this almost could have been a blessing in disguise for the winger.
It has forced Clarke to improve his decision making, and dribbling, using flashy one touch football to create and score goals rather than blindly crossing the ball into the 18-yard-box.
Clarke will certainly be a key player for Sunderland in their play-off campaign.
Photo – Lutontown.com
Carlton Morris is Luton’s top scorer this season, bagging 20 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions.
He’s had a strong end to the season, scoring four goals, and assisting two in the last five appearances for Luton.
Morris didn’t feature in their last game of the season against Hull, however he was likely rested in order to avoid unnecessary risk of injury.
He will be a key part of Luton’s plans for tackling Sunderland in both play-off legs.
Sunderland will also more than likely be planning to nullify his game, in order to give themselves the best possible chance for victory.