Lincoln will welcome Sunderland to Sincil Bank tonight for the first leg of the play-offs.
Lincoln manager Michael Appleton said that Joe Walsh suffered a minor reaction after returning from injury for the final two fixtures of the season, though he is still expected to be fine to start the game. Lincoln have been granted special dispensation to sign goalkeeper Josef Bursik on an emergency loan after Alex Palmer suffered a head injury in training.
Sunderland will be without Dion Sanderson, who’s season was ended with a back injury. Tom Flanagan could return to the squad after missing the last two months through injury.
The last five games between the sides have seen three Sunderland wins including a penalty shootout win the Papa’s Johns Trophy, a draw, and a Lincoln City win. The sides have played three games this season, with the two league games ending in a Sunderland win and a draw. The Papa-Johns trophy game ended 1-1 in normal time with Sunderland winning the penalty shootout.
The last five games for Lincoln have included a win and two draws, while for Sunderland their last five games and included a win and three draws.
The Manager’s Views
According to Lincoln’s Twitter account, manager Michael Appleton is looking forward to the return of fans for the game. Appleton said, “It will be fantastic, I’ve missed the anticipation that goes into the game and that feeling you get at the end of the game when you show your appreciation”.
Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson has said the time between the end of the season and the first leg has allowed in depth training sessions to take place. Johnson told the Sunderland website “As a coach, to be able to put some sessions on and coach with the detail that we have done over the last few days has been excellent and will hopefully show on the matchday”.
Lincoln will want to make the most of home advantage while Sunderland will be aiming for a positive result to take back to the Stadium of Light.