Sunderland captain delivers verdict on huge League One play-off clash against Sheffield Wednesday

Sunderland captain Corry Evans says Sunderland’s upcoming play-off semi-final against Sheffield Wednesday will be a huge game between two great clubs.

Monday, 2nd May 2022, 12:37 pm
Sunderland captain Corry Evans. Picture by FRANK REID

The Black Cats will host the Owls in the first leg at the Stadium of Light on Friday, before the return leg at Hillsborough three days later.

Sunderland beat Wednesday 5-0 when the sides last met on Wearside in December – although the Owls were recovering from a Covid-19 outbreak – while Darren Moore’s side won 3-0 in November’s reverse fixture.

When asked about the contest following Sunderland’s 1-0 win at Morecambe, Evans said: “Two great clubs, I have to say first and foremost, and it will be a really good occasion.

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“The first game we were disappointed with ourselves and how we performed in that match.

“The second game was probably one of our better performances this season so we just have to try and take our form into it and try to do the job over these two legs.”

Sunderland had to produce an impressive run of results just to finish in the play-offs and are unbeaten in 13 matches – they have lost just once in 15 games since Alex Neil’s appointment in February.

In their unbeaten run the Black Cats have taken 29 points from 39 available, consisting of eight wins and five draws.

A succession of late goals has also helped boost confidence, especially at the Stadium of Light.

"We’re in good form, we're confident and we believe we can beat anyone in this league with the way we are playing at the minute,” added Evans.

“Winning breeds confidence and we’re 13 games unbeaten so we’re on quite a bit of form at the minute.”

Still, Sunderland’s captain, who won promotion from League One automatically with Blackburn in 2018, insists the job isn’t done yet.

“Yeah listen we set out this season to get into the automatics so we are disappointed we didn’t achieve what we wanted to,” he admitted. “At the same time we have another crack at it, albeit through the play-offs.

“We have to take the game to Sheffield Wednesday and try to get through to get to Wembley.”

Evans has also won promotion from the Championship with Hull in 2013 but hasn’t been part of a play-off campaign.

The Northern Irishman hasn’t played at Wembley either, but knows his side will have to overcome two challenging fixtures to reach this month’s final.

For now the focus is on Friday’s fixture in the North East, and Evans believes the home crowd can give the Black Cats a lift.

“I’m sure they’ll be out in their numbers,” he added.

“Particularly at home as well they’ve been brilliant for us of late with us managing so many late goals, they are pushing us on.

“We’ll get the same backing I’m sure on Friday and it’ll be a great occasion.

“Obviously we’ll be looking to get a positive result at home but we are quite good away from home as well. We’ve shown that of late that we can go away and keep clean sheets.

“It’s going to be a great occasion and we are all looking forward to it.”