Johnson to treat Cobblers clash as a 'warm-up' for Sunderland's play-off campaign

Wyke and McGeady should be involved this weekend

Friday, 7th May 2021, 12:47 pm
Updated Friday, 7th May 2021, 12:48 pm
Lee Johnson.

Sunderland manager Lee Johnson will be treating Sunday's final game of the season against Northampton as a 'warm-up' for the play-offs.

The Black Cats secured their play-off spot with victory over Plymouth Argyle last weekend and, like their already-relegated visitors, have little riding on Sunday's fixture.

"I want to win the game and I want to perform well," said Johnson. "I might use my five subs for this one based on what we require at the moment because we need to be in a position to peak for the play-offs.

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"We need our best for that moment and I think this is the warm-up for that moment, if you like. I'm excited for the play-offs and I think it's something we've got to enjoy and embrace.

"We'd take our game to whoever we played in the final game and I expect us to have the ball a fair amount on Sunday and we have to make sure we do exceptionally well with it because that can breed confidence.

"We've actually had the chance to do some coaching this week and we've worked on our cohesion and flow and hopefully we go into the match full of beans."

Charlie Wyke and Aidan McGeady, who have combined for 31 league goals between them this season, could play some part on Sunday.

"I expect Charlie to play a part on Sunday, which is good news," Johnson added. "I wouldn't do that if there was a potential risk. It's not an easy balance but I think we can find it and we'll articulate that to the players.

"Both Aiden and Charlie are players who want to get going and play every minute of every game.

"I'm pretty confident that if they get through Sunday fine, then they'll be as good as gold for the semi-final and the rest will probably have served them well.

“Tom Flanagan, who has now had about a week to ten days training, is probably about 50/50 for the game on Sunday.”