Sunderland is one game away from a third trip to Wembley in as many years, with only Lincoln City standing in the way of a second EFL Trophy Final Here’s everything you need to know before kick-off!
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After three Wembley appearances in the previous 26 years, Sunderland is one game away from our third appearance in two years – and yet a question mark remains as to what we want
In a season strewn with quirks, there’s a weird feeling that we might as well while we’re here.The form of the league at the time of a given cup draw also influences this equation, and with Sunderland at the pitch after Saturday’s result against Doncaster Rovers, the current feeling is that it’s something to push
Lee Johnson will no doubt be eager to win a trophy in his first season at the helm, and with a potential side effect of improving consistency in League One’s bread and butter, that makes perfect sense.
The former Barnsley manager has a pedigree in the competition after taking the Tykes to the EFL Trophy final in 2016, but he left to take the reins at Bristol City ahead of the game and Paul Heckingbottom took the lead for finish the job for the South Yorkshire club
Another with an impressive history of managing the competition is our opponents’ manager Michael Appleton, who took Oxford United to Wembley in the back-to-back EFL Trophy finals in 2016 and 2017
Lincoln City has taken the competition as seriously as anyone this season, and they have continued their form in League One – which currently tops them in the standings – in Cup matches
Qualifying for the first time in a squad which included local rivals Scunthorpe United, in addition to Mansfield Town and arguably the best Under-21 side in the competition in the form of Manchester City was not an easy task, as demonstrated by the fact that sanctions were needed against their local neighbors and the best young guns in town to achieve victory
Convincing wins over Shrewsbury Town and Accrington Stanley saw Hull City face off atop the table in the quarter-finals, which required another penalty shootout for Lincoln to sneak up to face Sunderland tonight
A tough question for Lee Johnson, does he stick or twist? Is he taking the opportunity to gain momentum with similar staff over the weekend or to refresh it and give people like McGeady and Wyke a rest?
Dion Sanderson and Jake Vokins are tied for the cup which will lead to a rear-end reshuffle, while Carl Winchester is also tied for the cup
Michael Appleton takes this competition seriously, so major changes are not expected in the Lincoln starting XI
Regan Poole and Morgan Rogers are tied and former Sunderland midfielder Liam Bridcutt will miss an injury
Sunderland: J McLaughlin, Willis, Ozturk, Flanagan, O’Nien, Dobson, Power, Hume, Gooch (Leadbitter), Maguire (Watmore), Wyke Subs not used: Burge, C McLaughlin, Taylor, Grigg, McNulty
Lincoln City: Vickers, Eardley, Toffolo, Morrell, Bostwick (Bolger), Shackell, Anderson, Grant, Walker, Hesketh (Elbouzedi), Payne (Akinde) Subs not used: Smith, Melbourne, O’Connor, Chapman
Sheffield-born Chris Turner started his career in Sheffield on Wednesday in the late 1970s, and he got on loan at Lincoln City at the age of 20, making five appearances He joined Sunderland in a move worth £ 80,000 and helped us win promotion to the Premier Division in his first season
Turner was signed by Manchester United for £ 275,000 in the summer of 1985 after being voted Player of the Year as Sunderland reached the League Cup final, but was also relegated to Division 2
Although Harford was born in Sunderland, he started his career at Lincoln City in 1977, before moving to Newcastle United in 1980 after 41 goals in 115 appearances for Imps
Spells to Bristol City, Birmingham City, Luton Town, Derby County and Chelsea would come next before he finally moved to his hometown club in 1993 Sadly, it was 34 years old at the end of his career. career Terry Butcher had signed in hopes of giving us a boost against relegation from the Second Division He scored 2 goals in 11 games as Sunderland survived the skin of our teeth
The EFL trophy seems to have a weird effect on odds – a combination of league form coming out of the window and punters not knowing which teams are going to be eliminated adds an element of confusion
Sunderland is the favorite with bookmakers to win in normal time at 11/8, with the outside side at 2/1 and the 90 minute draw offered at 10/21
In terms of qualifying for the final itself, Sunderland has 8/11 to set up a trip to Wembley while Lincoln is tied and both teams are 11/2 to win on penalties
With uncertainty over who will leave for Sunderland, Charlie Wyke is available at 16/5 to open the scoring, with Chris Maguire following at a much longer 6/1 Aiden O’Brien, who was on the bench on Saturday, is proposed on 2/13
If, like me, you fancy a victory in Sunderland with both teams to score, the price is 4/1
With the rear overhaul for Sunderland, I can see Lincoln scoring, but there’s a feel-good factor after Doncaster Rovers demolished at the weekend
Sunderland vs Lincoln City, Sunderland
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