We've got a cheeky poll at the bottom for you too by the way. Exciting stuff.
Sunderland take a slender advantage into the 2nd leg of the League One play off semi-final against Portsmouth. It was only our second win over Pompey in the new millennium and at the fourth attempt in this season alone.
The Lads were professional if not fantastic during the win. A frustrating first half was one of the poorer halves of football we've witnessed all season, before we bucked our usual trend of playing naff in the second. The second period saw SAFC take control of proceedings and the opening goal was inevitable. Unfortunately, a truly abysmal decision from referee Andy Woolmer, more interested in being centre of attention for the Sky cameras than suitably refereeing a football match, blew any opportunity we had of building on the lead. I'm not saying we would have but, yeah, we would have.
Portsmouth were very poor and if the same Portsmouth side turns up tonight, we'll be booking our trains to Wembley. Moreover, punters will likely take the under yet again. Sunderland's 1-nil victory was well under oddsmakers 2.25 forecast total. But we can't wait to see what Portsmouth side appears. As Luke O'Nien said during midweek, we have to make sure it doesn't matter what Portsmouth side turn up;
“We are going to have to make sure that we are on it and I am sure if we do this, they won’t be able to handle us."
Oddschecker price Sunderland as 15/8 second favourites behind Charlton in the race for promotion. Portsmouth, who were joint favourites at the start, slip to 4/1 with a deficit to make up. That said, the home side are favourites to win tonight at 6/5 - so let's not be surprised if it takes longer than 90 minutes to decide who will go to Wembley (lord please not another penalty shootout). Of course, if you're not that keen on looking at League One promotion contenders, perhaps here where you can find horse racing contenders would be more to your taste. After all, you should never bet on the team you support!
Question marks continue to loom over whether Aiden McGeady will be fit to play. Jack Ross said that he's "not any different to what he was prior to the first leg", which suggests that an appearance from the bench is the best we can hope for with McGeady pulling out during the warm up on Saturday after being named in the starting 11. Duncan Watmore is also in contention, but with limited recent football it's unlikely he will start.
Chris Maguire scored the winner from the bench and it would be a bit daft to leave him out again. He can make an impact from the bench, but he has also proved many times this season he can make an impact from the start. I'd hope he would replace George Honeyman and play behind Charlie Wyke, but it's more likely he would replace one of Lynden Gooch or Lewis Morgan should he start, with Jack Ross likely to go for a more conservative switch.
There have also been some criticisms of the performances of Tom Flanagan and Max Power, but massive changes won't happen for tonight’s match and considering we achieved a rare clean sheet, I imagine the only change we will see is the inclusion of Maguire from the start.
McLaughlin, Ozturk, Flanagan, O'Nien, Oviedo, Cattermole, Power, Honeyman, Maguire, Morgan, Wyke
Who do you think should replace Maguire? Vote below!