Sunderland midfielder buzzing for Wembley return in front of 'incredible' Black Cats supporters
Sunderland midfielder Luke O’Nien is looking forward to playing at Wembley again in front of supporters again. The Black Cats played there once behind closed doors, in a 1-0 EFL Trophy final win over Tranmere Rovers.
That win over the League Two side ended Sunderland’s 48-year wait for a win at Wembley, a run which also included a defeat in the 2019 League One play-off final against Charlton Athletic. Sunderland supporters are set to travel down to the capital in huge numbers, with their extra allocation of 6,480 tickets already close to being sold out.
Speaking to safc.com, O’Nien discussed the feel good factor he is currently sensing amongst the fan base and cannot wait to return to the home of English football in front of a sea of Sunderland supporters.
He said: “Yeah, do you know what, the day after the Sheffield Wednesday game I went down to the beach with my little family in Sunderland and every person I met had a smile on their face. The fanbase speaks for itself, it’s incredible and I know they’re going to be turning up in numbers in London, probably more than tickets are available. It’s special, we’ve been there before and seen what sort of numbers turn out so I’m sure this will be no different.”
Or course, Sunderland were defeated in their last play-off final by Charlton, while also losing in the semi-finals to Lincoln City last season. O’Nien believes that with the experience of those defeats behind them, as well as the momentum picked up since Alex Neil’s appointment, Sunderland can come away victorious.
He said: “I think the experience of being there last year and winning it. We’ve been there and done it. The experience of the last few years as well, I think the people that have been there can pass that experience to the youngsters.
“I know I’ve changed as a player from going there for the first time to, now which will be the fourth time. Experience is going to help, the fanbase is going to help and the experience of the whole season - the lessons we’ve learned - put that all together like we have done in the last 15/20 games, it’ll give us the best chance of a result.”
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