Sunderland is a game away from a third trip to Wembley in as many years, with only Lincoln City standing in the way of a second EFL Trophy final. Everything you need to know before kick-off is here!
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After three appearances at Wembley in the last 26 years, Sunderland is one game away from our third appearance in two years – and yet there remains a question mark about how much we want it
In one of the craziest times of the year, there’s an odd feeling that we can do it just as well while we’re here. League form at the time of a cup tie also affects that equation With Sunderland aiming high after Saturday’s result against Doncaster Rovers, the current feeling is that it’s something to push for
Lee Johnson will no doubt be eager to take a trophy in his first season in charge of the club With the possible side effect of improving the consistency of top-tier bread and butter, this makes perfect sense
While the ex-Barnsley manager has a pedigree in the competition after leading the Tykes to the 2016 EFL Trophy final, he had to take the reins in Bristol City ahead of the game and Paul Heckingbottom took responsibility for the Finishing job for the South Yorkshire Club
Another manager with an impressive history in competition is our opponent’s manager, Michael Appleton, who led Oxford United to Wembley in the 2016 and 2017 EFL Trophy finals
Lincoln City has taken the competition as seriously as anyone this season, and they have continued their form in the premier league where they are currently at the top of the table
It was not an easy task to be the first to qualify from a group that included Mansfield Town as well as local rivals Scunthorpe United and probably the better of the U21 squad in the form of Manchester City their local neighbors and the best young guns in town were required to achieve victory
Convincing wins against Shrewsbury Town and Accrington Stanley resulted in a top fight in the quarterfinals in Hull City that required another penalty shootout for Lincoln to prevail against Sunderland tonight
A tough question for Lee Johnson, does he stay or does he spin? Does he take the opportunity to get going with similar staff as he did at the weekend, or does he refresh himself and give people like McGeady and Wyke a break?
Dion Sanderson and Jake Vokins are cup tied, which will result in a rearrangement, while Carl Winchester is also cup tied
Michael Appleton takes this competition seriously, so no major changes are expected when XI launches in Lincoln
Regan Poole and Morgan Rogers are cup ties and ex-Sunderland midfielder Liam Bridcutt is out due to injury
Sunderland: J. McLaughlin, Willis, Ozturk, Flanagan, O’Nien, Dobson, Power, Hume, Gooch (Leadbitter), Maguire (Watmore), Wyke Substitutes not used: Burge, C McLaughlin, Taylor, Grigg, McNulty
Lincoln City: Vickers, Eardley, Toffolo, Morrell, Bostwick (Bolger), Shackell, Anderson, Grant, Walker, Hesketh (Elbouzedi), Payne (Akinde) Unused substitutes: Smith, Melbourne, O’Connor, Chapman
Sheffield-born Chris Turner began his career with Sheffield on Wednesday in the late 1970s As a 20-year-old, he was loaned out to Lincoln City and made five appearances.He came with an 80 move000 pounds to Sunderland and helped us win promotion to First Division in his first season
Turner was joined by Manchester United in the summer of 1985 for a fee of £ 275000 after being named Player of the Year when Sunderland reached the League Cup final but was also relegated back to Division Two
Although Harford was born in Sunderland, he started his career in 1977 in Lincoln City before moving to Newcastle United in 1980 after 41 goals in 115 appearances for the Imps
Spells in Bristol City, Birmingham City, Luton Town, Derby County and Chelsea would come next before making his final move to his home club in 1993. Sadly, Terry Butcher signed at the end of his career as a 34-year-old in hopes of us to give a boost to relegation from second division He scored 2 goals in 11 games as Sunderland survived through the skin of our teeth
The EFL trophy seems to have an odd effect on odds – a combination of league form going out the window and players who have no idea which teams will be eliminated creates confusion
Sunderland is the bookmaker’s favorite11 win The away team on 0102 and the draw over 90 minutes on 2110
In terms of qualifying for the final itself, Sunderland arranges a trip to Wembley with 8/11, while Lincoln is level and both sides win 11/2 on penalties
Charlie Wyke isn’t sure who will start for Sunderland He will be available at 4/5 p.m. to open the scoring Chris Maguire follows with a much longer 6/1 Aiden O’Brien, who sat on the bench on Saturday, is offered at 13/2
If, like me, you fancy a win at Sunderland where both teams score, the price is 4/1
With the Sunderland reshuffle in the background, I can see Lincoln score a goal, but there’s a feel-good factor after the Doncaster Rovers demolition over the weekend
Sunderland vs. Lincoln City, Sunderland
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