Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland: The Star's writers predict play-off clash at Hillsborough

So it all comes down to this… Sheffield Wednesday welcome Sunderland to Hillsborough for the second leg of the League One play-off semi-finals and trailing 1-0.

Monday, 9th May 2022, 12:57 pm

It’s far from an insurmountable lead but still, the Black Cats will be favourites to go through and book a place at Wembley where Wycombe await the winners.

Here our football writers at The Star offer their predictions ahead of tonight’s match at Hillsborough and there are various levels of positivity.

ALEX MILLER

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Anyone who doesn’t think the atmosphere matters on evenings such as this is kidding themselves. Wednesday felt it in the first leg and produced their least penetrative performance in weeks - that’s not a coincidence. And so now it’s Hillsborough’s turn. And it’s Sunderland’s turn to feel it. There’s been an arc to the relationship between Wednesday and it’s fans in recent months and the sense of dread that could have filled the ground when Pompey went one up 10 days ago was replaced by an urging on. This is a crowd that knows it’s responsibility and ability to affect matters. And that is why I think the Owls will win. Concede first and it becomes a mountainous task. But start on the front foot, get themselves in front and this could be one of the great Hillsborough nights. Scoreline? 3-1 Wednesday.

JOE CRANN

The first leg went almost exactly as expected, really... And I think Wednesday were pretty lucky to come out of it with a 1-0 based on the balance of play, but they dug in well and it's a very overturnable result - I think. Tonight's game will be tight again, but I'm confident that the Owl have got enough - on home turf - to get the job done. Sadly for my nerves I think it's going to extra time though. I think a Wednesday 2-1 win over 90, and then a third goal in the final 30 minutes with the Hillsborough crowd roaring them.

Barry Bannan leads his team out at the Stadium of Light in the pla-off semi-final first leg against Sunderland Pic Steve Ellis

STEVE JONES

I'm struggling to call this one. Yes, Wednesday are very strong at home - and can pull out a result when it's really needed - but can they turn the tide of the tie after a very strong display from Sunderland in the first leg? I'm not sure. My heart says yes, but my head is saying otherwise. Hopefully I'm wrong again.

Sheffield Wednesday players huddle at the Stadium of Light ahead of taking on Sunderland Pic Steve Ellis

CHRIS HOLT

I didn’t see Wednesday losing the first leg and I suppose but for a big mistake from a normally reliable player, they wouldn’t have done. I did feel though that it was going to be very tight to the point that it would all hinge on tonight at Hillsborough and I’m sticking with that. Can’t see there being much in it again and so I reckon Wednesday to come out on top by the odd goal. Could be a night for penalties to decide it… thankfully Jordan Rhodes is no longer around.