The controversial number of away spectators, set and agreed by clubs and designed to allow as many home supporters as possible to attend at both legs, will be dwarfed by hulking home crowds as both clubs prepare for season-high attendances.
Sunderland have already sold more than 35,000 tickets for Friday evening’s clash, with the club reportedly targeting an overall crowd of more than 45,000.
Hillsborough is also set for a sell-out, with somewhere in the region of 33,500 tickets set to go ahead of Wednesday’s home leg on Monday.
The anticipated combined total crowd of nearly 80,000 fans will quite easily make it the most watched third tier play-off semi-final ever, breaking the record Leeds United and Millwall set with 50,264 fans when they faced off for a spot in the Championship back in 2009.
Leeds were also involved in the second most attended set of play-off semi-finals, their match-up with Carlisle attracting 49,170 the year before, while Sunderland’s 2019 clash with Portsmouth brought in 44,617.
Friday’s trip to the North East will deliver the biggest attendance this season outside the top flight and should it topple 45,000, only eight clubs in the country will average a higher attendance in the top tier with the likes of Chelsea (38,916) and Aston Villa (41,752) averaging a lower figure.
The League One attendance record is 46,039 – set at the Stadium of Light – when Sunderland beat Bradford City 1-0 on Boxing Day 2018.