Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland: “What are you intimidated by?” Black Cats boss downplays Hillsborough atmosphere factor ahead of Owls clash

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Sunderland boss Alex Neil has downplayed the idea that the atmosphere at Hillsborough this evening will affect his players as his side battle Sheffield Wednesday for a spot in the League One play-off final.

The Black Cats arrive with a one goal advantage after 45,000 Mackems cheered them onto a first leg victory at the Stadium of Light on Friday night.

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And now it is the turn of a sell-out Hillsborough, the Scot poked fun at the idea his players would be intimidated by the pumped-up Wednesday crowd.

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Sunderland are welcomed to Sheffield Wednesday this evening.Sunderland are welcomed to Sheffield Wednesday this evening.
Sunderland are welcomed to Sheffield Wednesday this evening.

“People say about intimidation. What are you intimidated by? People shouting boo?” he said.

“I don’t think there is going to be any intimidation. They are going to create a really good atmosphere for their players, they are going to hope that they can bring an extra step into the players in terms of can they go a yard quicker? Can they go harder in the next tackle?

“I do think that is relevant but I don’t think that we are going to be fearful of anything. I don’t think there is going to anything that’s going to surprise us when we get there. The stadium is going to be in their favour. But sometimes, that’s not a bad thing for us.”

Sunderland look likely to be without loanee Everton forward Nathan Broadhead for the match, though Neil played coy over his selection when speaking to the media.

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The tie is a record-breaker for an EFL play-off clash and will see more than 70,000 people attend over the two legs.