LEE JOHNSON cannot wait to welcome Sunderland supporters back to the Stadium of Light for the League One play-offs.
The Black Cats confirmed their place in the play-offs last weekend as they won at Plymouth Argyle, with Saturday’s final home game against Northampton Town set to confirm their schedule for the end-of-season shootout.
Sunderland will play the first leg of their play-off semi-final on either Tuesday, May 18 or Wednesday, May 19, with the second leg taking place on either Friday, May 21 or Saturday, May 22.
The Government’s next easing of lockdown regulations is due to take place on May 17, meaning that supporters should be present for both matches.
As it stands, clubs will be able to admit 10,000 supporters or 25 per cent of their ground capacity, whichever is the lower figure.
“It can be one of the best things about English football, when the fans are there,” said Johnson, who is hopeful Charlie Wyke and Aiden McGeady will both be available for the play-offs. “It would be massive if some could be there – even just a proportion – because I am really looking forward to that. We need positivity, support – the players need support – belief, and concentration.”
Johnson insists the disappointment of missing out on automatic promotion has now subsided, with Sunderland’s players looking forward to tackling the play-offs.
The club has a dreadful play-off record, with the most recent disappointment having come when they lost to Charlton Athletic at Wembley in 2019’s League One final, but Johnson is adamant that will not be an issue once the action begins later this month.
“I’m buzzing,” he said. “I’m disappointed that we haven’t got automatic promotion, but from where we were, the number of games, and let’s say we finish third or fourth, we’ve now got ourselves a second bite of the cherry in a mini-competition I believe we will be well prepared for.”