Excitement builds ahead of Sheffield Wednesday play-off clash

Written by Katya Witney

A 2,000-strong Sheffield Wednesday support will travel to the Stadium of Light this evening to watch the first leg of the Owl’s play-off semi-finals against Sunderland.

Darren Moore’s side is coming off the back of a 4-1 victory over Portsmouth on Saturday which saw them cement fourth place in the table.

“Nerves are starting to build. I was okay yesterday but that’s not the case today,” said James Mappin, a Wednesday fan and host of The Wednesday ‘Till I Die Podcast. “I think we’ve got what it takes to beat Sunderland but we can’t get carried away. There’s a long way to go.”

“We’ve got nothing to fear but we have to respect them. They’re a good side, especially at home. I expect a close game but hopefully we can come away with a lead to take into Monday. COME ON WEDNESDAY!”

Speaking to the Sheffield Wednesday club website this morning, Darren Moore said: “The stakes are high for both clubs and we know the size of the challenge. We are ready to play”

Image Credit: Sheffield Wednesday

“I will give a speech and try to pass over as much experience as I can, then we go out and perform. From where some of our players have been, they’ve played in games of this magnitude before. So from their perspective that can only be a good thing.”

The Owls are sweating over the fitness of skipper Barry Bannan who picked up a muscle injury in his side’s weekend game. His fitness will be assessed before the match.

The 32-year-old has made 42 appearances this season, bagging nine goals which has seen him named in the League One Team of the Season. He was also awarded the prize for the best goal of the season for his stunning strike against Cambridge in a 6-0 victory in March.

Sunderland are hoping to end a dismal playoff run with their six campaigns ending in defeat.

Speaking of his side’s play-off history Black Cat’s manager Alex Neil told BBC Radio: “I won’t be naive and say people don’t bring it up, and that’s natural as a fan. But what I will say is that I’m of the mindset that if you talk negatively about something you get a negative outcome.

“I think my emotions will be in check and I’ll be able to keep a cool head. We need to put ourselves in the best mind frame to win these games.”

The sell-out clash will kick off at 7:45pm tonight with the second leg set to take place at Hillsborough on Monday night.

Written by Katya Witney

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