Sunderland AFC Opinion – Looking ahead to the lottery of the play-offs

Matt Keeling takes stock ahead of two, possibly three games that could change Sunderland's fortunes

Just as I predicted, Sunderland have made the Championship play-offs and face Luton Town over two legs, as they stand three games away from a return to the Premier League.

Off the back of a run of nine games unbeaten, Sunderland enter the play-offs in a rich vein of form. Not since the 2-1 reverse at home to Sheffield United on March 15 have the Black Cats suffered defeat, and even that was unlucky – the goal was simply offside.

The match up with Luton is an interesting one, and is a fixture that would have Jack Ross’ eyes lighting up like a dog that has just noticed you’ve dropped a crisp on the floor – the last four games between the sides have finished 1-1. Phwoar.

1-1 on Saturday would, unlike the many 1-1s Mr Ross achieved, suit us just fine. So even would a narrow defeat. Such is the confidence of Sunderland away from home now, they simply would back themselves to come good.

Of course, taking a lead into the second leg would be magnificent, but the home form is the one thing to take out of the season that has left us feeling a bit, “hmm”. That said, the anticipated, and quite steaming, sell-out crowd could help the lads take a big step to a positive result to take down to Kenilworth Road.

Ah, Kenilworth Road. The venue of our very first away game in League One. The moment many of us thought was the start of a novelty journey that would last one season and be great fun.

The first of many Jack Ross 1-1 draws.

Wouldn’t it be fitting if this was the last club ground we played at before we returned to the Premier League? And God, imagine we did it with a 1-1 draw.

Whatever happens in the play-offs, I think we’re all prepared to let happen. The fact we are here, with everything thrown at us, is quite remarkable.

It’s different to any play-off campaign we’ve ever had – so let’s try and enjoy it, because it is easy to say this now. Once it gets under way on Saturday it’ll be easy to forget how much of an achievement it has been to just get here.

I’ll try and enjoy it too. I’m off to the second leg on Tuesday, and I’ll be writing (and recording) something to tell you all about my journey. Right now, though, take in something good happening to us, however long it might last. The season has been a wild ride, and it isn’t finished just yet.

It certainly isn’t dead.