Alan Dudman previews Saturday's second-leg at the Stadium Of Light and is backing Lincoln to once again gain a result...
"First impressions are that Lincoln are a massive price at 4.47/2. It's just plain wrong to me."
Sunderland v Lincoln City
Saturday 22nd May, kick-off 15:30
Live on Sky Sports
Sunderland's woeful first leg
Sunderland boss Lee Johnson came in for plenty of criticism following their rather insipid 2-0 loss at Lincoln in the first leg, a performance that was more accustomed to the days under Phil Parkinson. They defended poorly and went far too long with the ball; which in turn isolated Charlie Wyke - who was very quiet.
They created a few chances but they found Joe Bursik in inspired form for Lincoln on debut, but those chances did not mask a performance described as dismal by the local press.
Johnson was forced into a defensive switch around as Conor McLaughlin injured his back prior to the game and he has been ruled out for Saturday. Denver Hume is doubtful with a hamstring injury. And Sunderland have been cursed with hamstrings.
Job done for Lincoln
A superb attacking performance in the 2-0 win at Sincil Bank has given Lincoln the upper hand. Boss Michael Appleton had predicted he'd try and win with an attacking line-up, and that's exactly what happened with goals from Tom Hopper and Brennan Johnson - the latter's 13th of the season. They had lots of pace down the flanks, especially the right, as Sunderland's changed backline failed to cope.
Appleton has said he had the mindset to win both games as playing for the draw often sees them get sucked into defending too deep.
They exploited Sunderland's weaknesses to perfection in the game and as usual, Liam Bridcutt bossed the midfield. Lincoln are 2.77/4 in the Promotion market.
First impressions are that Lincoln are a massive price at 4.47/2. It's just plain wrong to me. There are of course factors to include; with the suspected onslaught from Sunderland, but have the layers not been watching them for the last three months? Remember, they were not in form prior to Wednesday's first leg as they had won just two of their previous 10 matches.
Johnson insists his team are very much in the tie and can score, as he lamented their play in both boxes. His positive message was: "We know we can score as we've had goals in us all season."
The odds on a home win at 1.9720/21 represent poor value - in fact the poorest value we have seen over the four games thus far. It is certainly a laying price. This has been going on for years with the Black Cats in this division, and of course they are the likeliest winners, but Lincoln were the best team in the division away from with the counter-attacking style with only Hull City achieving the same amount of wins (13).
In four matches between the pair this term it's all square, although they have held Sunderland to draws on two occasions at the Stadium Of Light.
The expected 10,000 fans of course will be a massive plus, but if the hosts start edgy and fail to score early, that can transmit to the players.
Brennan Johnson, the son of former Nottingham Forest forward David looked sharp and scored at Sincil Bank, so backing him to Score Anytime and Lincoln to win pays out 9.1 on the Sportsbook.
Sunderland's leading scorer Wyke needs to see more of the ball on Saturday, Wyke Score First and Aiden McGeady to Score Anytime with a Sunderland win pays 18.73 on the treble.
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Alan Dudman's P and L
League One 2020/21: -7.39pts
FA Cup 2020/21 (1pt): +10.42pts
2017/18 to 2019-2020: +42.24pts
*League One bets to a 0.5pt stake