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Lincoln City host Sunderland in the first leg of their English League One playoff semi-finals at LNER Stadium. Neither team ended the season on the best note but Sunderland have a decent record on the road and can earn a draw on Wednesday.
Lincoln City were held to a 0-0 draw by Wimbledon in their final regular season fixture. Brennan Johnson missed their two best chances in a largely uneventful encounter.
The Imps only just made the playoffs as they ended the season with just one win from their final five fixtures. They finished fifth on the table, three points above Charlton Athletic, who were just outside the top six.
Lincoln City are also unconvincing at home with one win from their last six matches at LNER Stadium. Michael Appleton’s men have conceded six goals in their last three matches.
Sunderland made the playoffs after finishing fourth on the table, level on 77 points with Lincoln City. They came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw against Northampton Town in their final regular season fixture with Carl Winchester getting the equaliser.
With five clean sheets having been kept in eight games, Appleton and his squad should be relatively confident about progressing past an inconsistent Sunderland outfit.
That said, eight goals were conceded in the other three matches, all of which came against teams who ended the season in the top seven.
Jorge Grant finished the campaign with 21 contributions in the final third, but the playmaker has registered just three in his last five appearances.
Like their hosts, Sunderland found results hard to come by during the run-in, with the Black Cats being limited to six points from five encounters.
Lee Johnson‘s men required four points from their closing double-header against Plymouth Argyle and Northampton Town to finish in fourth spot.
Worryingly for Johnson, his Sunderland backline has now gone 10 games without keeping a clean sheet, their efforts not helped by a season-ending injury to Dion Sanderson.