Sunderland manager concerned about the London Road playing surface, but he doesn’t believe the Easter Monday showdown with Posh will decide the race for automatic promotion

Sunderland manager Lee Johnson admits his team selection for the big League One promotion battle at Posh tomorrow (April 5, 3pm) could be influenced by the state of the London Road playing surface.

By Alan Swann
Sunday, 4th April 2021, 2:04 pm
Sunderland manager Lee Johnson. Photo: Pete Norton, Getty Images.
Sunderland manager Lee Johnson. Photo: Pete Norton, Getty Images.

But Johnson, like his Posh counterpart Darren Ferguson, doesn’t believe the Easter Monday showdown will define the race for a top two finish.

It’s certainly a clash of two big hitters though. Posh have the best home record in League One, Sunderland have lost once on their travels. Posh are the top scorers at home, but tomorrow’s visitors have the best defensive record in the division.

Posh have emerged from a slump in form to win two matches in a row, but Sunderland have won nine of 11 unbeaten League One matches since losing at Shrewsbury on February 9. If Sunderland win at the Weston Homes Stadium, they will overtake Posh and still have a game in hand on Ferguson’s side.

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Sunderland manager Lee Johnson signed Posh star Sammie Szmodics for Bristol City.

Johnson told the Sunderland Echo: “I genuinely don’t think it’s a promotion-decider. It’s an opportunity for three points and it is 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 end of the season.

“Of course, if you win the game then it gives you a nudge up.

“That’s why we’ve got to keep taking our lessons from each game and we can’t have that 15-20 minute spell we had in the first half here again at Peterborough because they will capitalise on that.

“You’ll have seen the Peterborough pitch, it’s almost like tumbleweed in that it gets quicker when you pass the ball.

“Peterborough play that pitch really well. They’ve got good footballers who almost volley it to each other, so that will be a consideration when I select the team

“They have players I know well there. They’ve got threats in players like Jonson Clarke-Harris and Sammie Szmodics. I had Sammie at Bristol City.

“We’ll prepare as we always do, go again and prepare extremely hard to win three points for our supporters.”