Lincoln City vs Sunderland: League one play-off clash likely to be tight

There was nothing to choose between Sunderland and Lincoln City in League One this season, so their play-offs clash may be too tight to call.

When: Wednesday, May 19, 18:00 GMT

How to watch: Sky Sports

Best bets

Aiden McGeady to score anytime at 3/1 (Bet365)

Sunderland to win and both teams to score at 6/1 (SkyBet)

1-1 draw at 5/1 (SkyBet)

The League One play-offs continue on Wednesday night as Sunderland travel to Lincoln to battle it out for a first-leg advantage.

The Wearsiders have had an inconsistent season, starting slowly, looking like strong contenders for the automatic spots in March, and collapsing at the end to finish fourth in the table.

Lincoln have been one of the more consistent sides in the division, but their small squad suffered more than most with the volume of games.

Ultimately, it was only goal difference that separated the two sides over 46 matches, so a tight contest looks likely.

Previous meetings this season

Sunderland 1-1 Lincoln (March 20, 2021)

The last time these two sides met there was very little to choose between them.

A Callum McFadzean header just before half-time had Sunderland ahead, but Callum Morton earned the Imps a point with half an hour to spare.

Sunderland dominated possession on the day, but both teams had a similar product in terms of chances created, and the play-off matches may follow the same pattern.

Sunderland 1-1 Lincoln (Football League Trophy, February 17, 2021)

If Sunderland are looking for a psychological edge in this one, they could look to their Football League Trophy success earlier this season.

The teams met in the semi-finals of that competition too, with Sunderland winning on penalties before going to Wembley and winning there too.

On this occasion, it was Lincoln who took the lead through Anthony Scully, but top-scorer Charlie Wyke headed the Black Cats level 15 minutes from time.

Lincoln 0-4 Sunderland (December 12, 2020)

There was no doubting who was the dominant side in the first meeting between these two this season, with Sunderland producing a powerful away performance.

They had the game pretty much sewn up by half-time courtesy of a Grant Leadbitter penalty, Wyke, and Jack Diamond.

That man Wyke, who finished the season with 30 goals, added the fourth in the second half.

Historical head-to-head

Lincoln wins: 4

Draws: 3

Sunderland wins: 6

Limping Imps

They say that momentum Is key heading into the play-offs, but neither side can really boast to have it on their side.

Lincoln won just one of their final five matches in the league, although only a horrendous refereeing decision denied them a win at Peterborough in that run.

They also have a poor record in the play-offs in general, winning just three matches in their previous six campaigns.

Sleep-walking Sunderland

Lee Johnson: Promotion would just be one step back to where Sunderland belong
Lee Johnson: Promotion would just be one step back to where Sunderland belong

Despite looking like strong contenders tor automatic promotion just a few weeks ago, Sunderland's recent form is extremely poor.

They have won just one of their last nine matches as the defensive stability that formed the basis of their success for much of the season completely abandoned them.

Like Lincoln, Sunderland also have a painful history with the play-offs. Their 1998 final defeat to Charlton is legendary, and the Addicks denied them again in the final a couple of years ago.

Sunderland's play-offs history is so bad, in fact, that even the year when they were promoted in the play-offs (1990), they still lost in the final!

Goalscorer bets

Jorge Grant a big goal treat for Lincoln
Jorge Grant a big goal treat for Lincoln

Sunderland's Charlie Wyke has 30 goals this campaign, so it will be little surprise to see him top of the betting. He can be backed at 4/1 with Bet365 to open the scoring, and he already has three goals against the Imps this season.

One man who often delivers for the Black Cats in the bigger matches is Aiden McGeady, and he seems solid value at 3/1 to score anytime.

Lincoln's main goal threat comes from midfield in the shape of Jorge Grant, and he is 7/1 top open the scoring.