Sunderland vs Sheffield Wednesday: How much home advantage could help the Owls in second leg

Sheffield Wednesday will have home advantage in the second leg of their play-off semi-final tie against Sunderland, but what difference will it make?

Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 3:41 pm

The Owls boast the best home record in English football’s top four divisions – closely followed by Sunderland, whose record is joint-second best with League Two Tranmere – heading into the end-of-season knockouts.

But the play-offs are a complete lottery, right?

Not exactly.

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Owls fans at Hillsborough on the final day against Portsmouth.

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A look at the history books would suggest playing at home in the second leg does provide teams with an advantage, albeit a small one.

Over the last five seasons, of the 10 League One sides who have played at home in the second leg of the semi final, six have progressed to the final.

Four of them were subsequently promoted.

Interestingly, however, for three years running the team who finished third has gone up via the play-offs.

Last season Sunderland boasted home advantage in their play-off semi-final tie against Lincoln City.

But despite winning 2-1 at the Stadium of Light, a 2-0 away defeat in the first leg saw them crash out on aggregate.

The Black Cats have already sold more than 35,000 tickets for Friday’s clash, with the club reportedly targeting an overall crowd of more than 45,000.

Sheffield Wednesday have sold out their 2,000 ticket allocation.

Darren Moore’s side are the bookies' favourite to win promotion to the Championship via the play-offs.

Sunderland are third favourites at 3/1.

They have lost just once since Alex Neil took over in February.

The Scot has won eight of his 15 matches in charge and his team are on a 13-game unbeaten run.