Former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder gives his take on ‘staggering’ Sunderland match-up

Sell-out crowds watching matches between Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland? It’s more akin to a Premier League clash to that of a League One play-off.

Thursday, 5th May 2022, 4:30 pm

That’s according to former Wednesday midfielder and television pundit David Prutton, who knows all about the pressure of angling for promotion with a big club.

Prutton spent the last three years of his career with the Owls but played in a third tier playoff campaign with Leeds United

And speaking on the Sky Sports EFL podcast with ex-Sunderland forward Don Goodman, Prutton commented on the two clubs’ standing in the football pyramid.

Sign up to our Sheffield Wednesday newsletter

Darren Moore led Sheffield Wednesday to a fourth-place finish in League One.

“They shouldn't be [in League One] but they are,” he said. “That's the hard facts of it, they operate under a certain level of expectation and rightly so.

“We've seen over the course of the season, the teams that have dealt with that particular pressure - maybe it's slightly different with Rotherham and Wigan with the greatest respect - given what we've seen over the course of the season we've seen a managerial change, Darren Moore get his side up to the pace of League One.

“As we heard from Barry Bannan a few weeks ago, every team coming to Hillsborough and lifting their performance, the same will be said of Sunderland of course, with teams going to the Stadium of Light.”

A record-breaking crowd is expected at Sunderland on Friday evening, while Hillsborough is expected to sell-out once more to make it the most watched third tier semi-final clash of all-time.

The two behemoth clubs will provide an incredible advert for the Football League, Prutton predicts, with both sets of players hoping to showcase their abilities on the big stage.

He said: “These are going to be huge, aren't they? It's got the feel of what would have been a Premier League game in all but name. It's two teams that are way off where they should be with the chance to take that small step back towards where they believe they should be.

“The fact you've got a League One play-off semi-final, which collectively could be played over the two legs in front of 80,000 people is just staggering really.”