League One Play-Off Final Preview: Thousands to Descend on Wembley Plus Latest Team News and Betting Odds

Play-Off Final Preview
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Last Word on Sports brings you the League One Play-Off Final preview ahead of the big game this Saturday. Sunderland face Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday in the League One Play-off final at Wembley. The winner will play Championship football next season. Sunderland, currently on a 15-game unbeaten run will be backed by more than 46,000 fans who will make the long trip from the North East to London in the hope that their team can finally make it back to England’s second tier. 

Wycombe, who have lost just twice in 14 games make the short trip to London aiming to bounce back to the Championship at the first attempt. It was revealed earlier this week that VAR will be added to the mix on an afternoon that is sure to have plenty of excitement and nail-biting action for both sets of fans and neutrals alike. 

Sunderland vs Wycombe Wanderers League One Play-Off Final Preview and Latest Betting Odds

Venue: Wembley Stadium

Date: Saturday, May 21, 2022

Kick-Off: 3 pm BST

Sunderland Set to Turn Wembley into a Home Game

More than 46,000 Sunderland fans will decent on Wembley this Saturday. An initial allocation for just over 37,000 was given to Black Cat fans. These sold out within hours of going on sale. A request for more was submitted and accepted. However, the extra 6,500 was never going to be enough for Sunderland fans desperate to see their team at Wembley.

2,500 more were given and Sunderland were told this would be their final amount despite many more wanting tickets. It could mean that despite demand, there could still be many empty seats at Wembley.

League One Play-Off Final Preview: Latest Black Cats Team News

Apart from long-term absentee Jordan Willis, Alex Neil could have a fully fit squad to choose from for the first time since taking over on Wearside. Nathan Broadhead, who has recently been called up to the Wales squad, is now fit after recovering from a muscle injury that forced him off early in the final league game of the season.

Carl Winchester has now recovered from a groin injury that made him miss out on the last four games and winger Leon Dajaku is back in training following an illness.

Experienced winger Aiden McGeady who has not played since November due to a knee ligament injury is back in full training and made the substitutes bench for the final league game and the first leg of the playoff semi-final.

Alex Neil in a Relaxed Mood Ahead of Final

Speaking earlier this week, Sunderland head coach Alex Neil said that he and his squad are relaxed and that preparations are stepping up ahead of the big day. He told the Sunderland Echo: “We’re relaxed, we’ve set out our stall out early in terms of what we wanted to achieve and we’ve still got one hurdle left to go,” he said.

“We knew it was going to be a big test for us [against Sheffield Wednesday] and I think the manner in which we did it, it took a lot out of us physically and mentally. We did everyone proud, and I think we deserved to go through.

“The players have had plenty of time off but we’ve done a few training sessions now and we’re looking sharp, we’re looking forward to the final.”

Wycombe Will be a Dangerous Test

Alex Neil was recently asked his thoughts on Wycombe and what kind of test they will provide his Sunderland team. He said: “A dangerous one. I think they’re a tough team to beat, they’ve got a great habit at being in games all the time, they don’t necessarily need to play well to win.

“I think they’re dangerous from the first minute to the last minute, and they’re not the type of team to get too caught up in the processing and how you play and all that sort of stuff. They want to be as effective as they possibly can and those types of teams are always dangerous.”

VAR to be Used

VAR will be in operation this weekend and will also be in use for the other play-off finals. It is the first time that the Video Assistant Referee system will be used at all three finals. Goal-line technology will also be in use. The referee for the League One Play-off Final will be Simon Hooper while VAR will be operated by retired referee Lee Mason.

Chairboys to be Backed by Four Times Their Average Attendance

The people of Wycombe have come out in force to support their team for the League One play-off final at Wembley. Wanderers have had an average attendance of around 5,500 this season but have sold around 22,000. According to a report by BBC Sport, it is the most tickets bought by Chairboys fans for any game in the 21st century.

League One Play-Off Final Preview: Wycombe Team News

Gareth Ainsworth only has one injury concern ahead of Saturday. Attacking midfielder Anis Mehmeti missed the final few games of the season and now faces a race against time to be fit enough to be included in Ainsworth’s squad. Apart from Mehmeti, the Wycombe boss should have a fully fit squad to choose from.

Gareth Ainsworth’s Vow

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Chairboys star striker Sam Vokes pledged his future to the club ahead of Saturday’s final and his manager Gareth Ainsworth has made a vow to do everything possible to gain promotion back to the Championship. He told Chronicle Live: “Bringing Sam to Adams Park last summer was a big coup for us and I’d say that keeping him here is even more significant, after the year he’s had. Sam has made this place his home from day one and he’s enjoying his football again after a frustrating period before he came here.

“He’s shown exactly why he’s earned so many caps for his country and played in the Premier League, and he’s led by example on and off the pitch. The owners and I share a plan to get us into the Championship and continue to build this club into something bigger and better than it’s ever been before.

“Sam is a key component to making that happen and it’s a real mark of the man that he’s signed this contract before knowing for certain which division we’ll be in this year, although he and I both fully believe in our ability to get the win we need this weekend.”

Head to Head This Season

Sunderland 3-1 Wycombe

Wycombe 3-3 Sunderland

Road to the Final

Sunderland finished the season in fifth place on 84 points while Wycombe finished sixth and one point behind the Black Cats. In the semi-finals, Sunderland disposed of Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 on aggregate. A 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light was followed by a 1-1 draw at Hillsborough. A 93rd-minute equaliser from Patrick Roberts sealed their place at Wembley.
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Wycombe met MK Dons, who narrowly missed out on automatic promotion, in their semi-final. The Chairboys won the first leg 2-0 and despite losing the second leg 1-0 they hung on to book their place at the home of football.

League One Play-Off Final Preview: Latest Betting Odds 

Sunderland to win in 90 minutes 23/20

Wycombe to win in 90 minutes 12/5

Draw 23/10

Sunderland to win after extra-time 8/1

Wycombe to win after extra-time 11/1

Sunderland to win on penalties 11/1

Wycombe to win on penalties 11/1

Odds are from Sky Bet and are correct as of May 19.