The Easter weekend is often seen as such a vital part of the season to teams across the EFL, as positive results in both the Friday and Monday games can go a long way for a club as they enter their final few games of the season.
Two sides in EFL League One that won their Friday games are promotion chasers Peterborough United and Sunderland, who will both be aiming to make it two for two when they meet on Monday.
Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson could hand a start to midfielder Jack Taylor, after he made a return from injury off the bench in their last match. Forward Siriki Dembele is in a similar position, having come off the bench after suffering back problems, so will likely feature in some capacity again.
In the other camp, Sunderland manager Lee Johnson will potentially be able to call upon full-back Denver Hume who is now back in training. Meanwhile midfielder Carl Winchester could return to the side having not been involved on Friday. Forward Aiden O’Brien has also recovered from a hamstring injury so could play a part.
(4-2-3-1) Pym, Thompson, Kent, Beevers, Butler, Brown, Reed, Ward, Szmodics, Burrows, Clarke-Harris
(4-2-2-2) Burge, McLaughlin, Sanderson, O’Niein, McFadzean, Winchester. Power, Jones, McGeady, O’Brien, Wyke
Peterborough come into the game with back-to-back victories over Fleetwood Town and Accrington Stanley, with the latter being an eye-catching 7-0 win. They had only won one in six prior to that however, so will be hoping that that was just a blip, in what has been an otherwise impressive season. They will want to therefore build on their last two results, which sees them sat in second, just one point off the top.
Meanwhile, Sunderland’s form is bordering on unstoppable of late, winning seven of their last eight games in all competitions, with a draw at home to Lincoln City being the only time they’ve dropped points since the beginning of March. This form has seen them move up to third in the table, pulling away from the chasing pack and making automatic promotion a realistic goal.
Ones to watch
Peterborough were on course for a disappointing draw away at Fleetwood in their last game, until the 89th minute, when top scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris stepped up and scored a brilliant free-kick to secure all three points. It was his 26th goal of the season, making him the league’s most lethal marksman. Fans may have been unsure if Clarke-Harris would manage to follow in the footsteps of Ivan Toney after his summer move from Bristol Rovers, but he has certainly shown that he is capable of providing the goals.
Although forward Charlie Wyke may grab all the headlines for his goals, it is the experienced Aiden McGeady that has been the orchestrator of much of the club’s recent success. He scored the decisive goal in their win over Oxford United on Friday, and has provided 12 assists this season, which is the joint highest total in the league. The Republic of Ireland international turns 35 on Easter Sunday, but you wouldn’t know it from his presence and creative threat on the pitch.
These sides have only met 11 times in their history, with Sunderland having comfortably the better record, winning seven to Peterborough’s two. However the Black Cats have only won one of their four most recent encounters, which came earlier this season, picking up a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light in September. The last meeting at London Road saw Posh win 3-0 in August 2019, with their only other victory coming way back in 1992. So they’ll be hoping for just a third ever win over their opponents on Monday, which will give them some much needed breathing space in the race for promotion.
How to watch
The game will be shown live on Sky Sports Main Event at 15:00 (BST), so fans from both clubs will be able to tune in without needing an iFollow link.
What the managers have said
Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson spoke to the club’s media, playing down the importance of this game. He said:
“We can look forward to a big game on Monday against Sunderland, live on TV at home.
“It is just a shame there won’t be any fans to see it in the stadium.
“That game (Sunderland) won’t define our season, as there will still be lots of points to play for.”
In the other dugout, Sunderland boss Lee Johnson told the Sunderland Echo a similar tale, knowing points will still be available after the game. He said:
“I don’t think it’s a promotion decider. It’s an opportunity for three points, and it’s the same for them.
“There’s still so many games to play, lots of points still to play for. There’s an awful lot that can and will go on between now and the end of the season.
“Of course, if you win the game then it gives you a nudge up.”