Sheffield Wednesday vs Sunderland predictions: Tight clash likely at Hillsborough

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Ross Stewart scored the only goal in a tense encounter between Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night
Ross Stewart scored the only goal in a tense encounter between Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night

Neither Sheffield Wednesday or Sunderland will want to spend another season in League One — yet only one of them will progress to the play-off final. 

Ross Stewart’s goal on the stroke of half-time in the first leg of their semi-final last Friday was enough to give the Black Cats an advantage to take to Hillsborough this evening. 

The visitors boast an excellent recent away record which should leave Alex Neil’s side in a confident mood.

However, the Owls have been a tough nut to crack on their own patch this season and both sides will fancy their chances of booking their place at Wembley for the final on Saturday, May 21.   

Team news

There looks to be a strong chance that both teams will be unchanged from the line-ups that started the game at the Stadium of Light. 

Darren Moore could hand a start to Josh Windass — a 56th-minute substitute for Saido Berahino on Friday evening — to play alongside star striker Lee Gregory.

Gregory will be looking to boost his fine recent scoring record of eight goals in his last nine games, which included a hat-trick in a 3-2 win at Fleetwood last month.

Meanwhile, Everton loanee Nathan Broadhead has a chance of featuring for the visitors but it would be a surprise if boss Neil tinkered with the starting XI that earned his side a first-leg advantage. 

Sheffield Wednesday boss Darren Moore will ponder changes to help his side overturn a first-leg deficit
Sheffield Wednesday boss Darren Moore will ponder changes to help his side overturn a first-leg deficit

The stats

It has been a tight battle for the League One play-off places this season and consequently both Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland have gone into the post-season in rich veins of form. 

The Owls have been particularly strong at their South Yorkshire home, with promoted Rotherham the only side in the division to have won at Hillsborough since the beginning of October. 

Moore's men have won seven of their last eight home matches but it is notable they have kept clean sheets in only two of their last six on their own turf.

Their reverse at the Stadium of Light was only their second defeat in their last 12 games. 

But Sunderland have now gone 14 games without a loss while they have kept five clean sheets in their last six away matches. 

Alex Neil's Sunderland are enjoying a 14-match unbeaten streak
Alex Neil's Sunderland are enjoying a 14-match unbeaten streak

Predictions

There were just six shots on target between the two teams in the first leg and this looks destined to be another cagey affair. 

Nerves are likely to be strong and there is little to choose between the two teams, which suggests Sunderland may feel another solid defensive performance on the road will be enough to see them through. 

The Owls scored 48 goals during their home season but it seems unlikely they will break their opponents down at will. 

Do not expect many goals at Hillsborough as it may be these two will need extra-time to figure out who is going to Wembley.

Tags

Sheffield WednesdaySunderlandLeague One
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