Sunderland Weekly Round-Up: Advantage Held in Playoffs Plus Latest Black Cats Transfer and Contract News

Black Cats transfer

The latest edition of the Sunderland weekly round-up takes a look at the latest news from the North East. It was a week that saw almost 45,000 fans pack into the Stadium of Light for their teams’ playoff semi-final. We also have the latest Black Cats transfer, contract, and injury news. 

Latest Black Cats Transfer, Contract, and Injury News Plus a Look Back at the Play-Off Semi-Final First Leg

Sunderland Defeat Sheffield Wednesday in First Leg of Playoff Semi-Final

Almost 45,000 packed into the Stadium of Light to see Sunderland take on Sheffield Wednesday in the first leg of the League One play-off semi-final. Flags, displays, a mosaic, and thunderous noise welcomed the players onto the pitch with the noise from the fans relentless throughout the game. It gave the Stadium of Light one of the best atmospheres seen and heard in several years. 

On the pitch, Alex Neil’s men delivered a performance worthy of more than the one-goal advantage they take into the second leg at Hillsborough, the home of Wednesday, on Monday night. Sunderland’s top scorer Ross Stewart scored the only goal of the game just before halftime. 

The Black Cats went in search of more goals in the second half as they piled on the pressure on the Owls’ defence. However, they could not find another goal and travel to Sheffield with a slender lead. 

Alex Neil On His Team’s Performance and Sunderland’s Support

After the game, Sunderland head coach Alex Neil spoke about his team’s performance and the crowd – a crowd that was the largest attendance in EFL playoff history. He said: “The atmosphere was electric, I thought they were an absolute credit to the club tonight. It was brilliant.

“How fortunate am I to be the guy on the side of the pitch with 45,000 people cheering the lads on? I feel really, really privileged. But the players have then got to take that expectation, that atmosphere, soak it up and manufacture that into a really good performance, which I think they did.

“The only disappointment from our point of view is that we didn’t add to the scoreline, we had two or three glorious chances between halftime to 75 minutes, I felt we deserved another at that point.”

Injury News

Only one injury doubt remains ahead of Monday’s playoff semi-final second leg. Striker Nathan Broadhead, who missed the first leg through injury, is set to be assessed before the game. Should the on-loan Everton striker, who was in goal-scoring form, be passed fit, he will be expected to be involved at some point in this crucial game at Sheffield Wednesday.

Those in the squad on Friday are all expected to be fit to be called into action should Alex Neil select them.

Latest Black Cats Transfer News 

According to the Sunderland Echo, midfielder Dan Neil is still being linked with a move to relegation-threatened Burnley. Several other Premier League clubs have also been linked with the high-rated Neil; however, it is the Clarets who appear to be keeping the closest eye on developments at Sunderland and the player himself.

Contract News

It is still uncertain which division Sunderland will be playing in next season. With this uncertainty, the club has yet to begin contract talks with the 12 players who will be out of contract with the Black Cats this summer. Several of these players are currently at the Stadium of Light on loan. Jack Clarke, Callum Doyle, and Nathan Broadhead have been on loan deals from Tottenham, Manchester City, and Everton respectively. Goalkeeper Thorban Hoffmann is on a season-long loan from German giants Bayern Munich; however, there is an option to buy. The same goes for winger Leon Dajaku on loan from Union Berlin. Both featured regularly under previous head coach Lee Johnson but have found game time hard to come by under Alex Neil.

Elsewhere, Lynden Gooch, Aiden McGeady, Patrick Roberts, Bailey Wright, Lee Burge, Jordan Willis, and Arbenit Xhemajli are all set to see their current contracts expire this summer. Irrespective of the division Sunderland find themselves in next season, changes to the current squad are expected.

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