Following a fantastic display at Fratton Park, the lads are set to face Tranmere Rovers on Sunday at Wembley Stadium, a place we've failed to win in our last seven visits. I was joined by Tranmere fan Guy Fagan to preview the game.
"His goals have been very important, as well as his aggression and ability to hold-up the ball. He's also able to defend set-pieces and get stuck in. However, he's not really featured much in the Papa John's Trophy. Had he been fit, I don't even know if we'd have started him anyway as the league is too important. A poll ran showed that most fans would rather lose on Sunday and get promoted than win on Sunday but end up in the play-offs. Paul Lewis, originally a midfielder, will probably come in to cover for him. Instead of Vaughan, David Nugent might play, more to get him some minutes above anything else. I think even Nugent might play behind the main striker. Paul Lewis has converted from midfield and will probably start up-front. There are a few who could replace him, though."
FORMATION & TACTICS
"He tends to favour a lone-striker, with two holding midfielders. It appears as a 4-2-3-1. We play out from the back, looking to form triangles and use one-touch passing."
"Jay Spearing as a key figure as a holding midfielder, he gets stuck in with crunching tackles. Going forward, Kaiyne Woolery (a right-winger) is our main flair player. He got loads of assists in League 2 last season. He's our main threat with a lot of pace and power. Danny Lloyd, our left winger who also plays number 10, gets himself about, gets stuck in and has a lot of energy. Liam Feeney recently played the holding role but often plays just behind the striker. A surprise may be Corey Blackett-Taylor; on his day, he's incredible, but he isn't very consistent and there have been rumours he's fallen out with the manager."
"Maybe the left-flank. If teams get in our faces we struggle as we tend to win when we're allowed to play football. We struggle when we have to play it long."
"Not at all, really, but I'm not really bothered. We play good football and have quality and have players that could play in League 1. I think it will be a good footballing game and I like to think it will be closer game than it appears with us being in League 2."
Dion Sanderson, Carl Winchester and Jake Vokins are unfortunately cup-tied. Bailey Wright and Denver Hume are still out injured, whilst Aiden O'Brien and Jordan Jones are both doubts. Fortunately, the returns of Grant Leadbitter and Connor McLaughlin bolster our depleted options. Defensively, our options appear to consist of Connor McLaughlin, Tom Flanagan, Max Power, Luke O'Nien, Ollie Younger and Callum McFadzean. A combination of McLaughlin, O'Nien, Flanagan and McFadzean appears likely, but we'll have to wait to see who Johnson decides to pick.
If there's ever a time to end our Wembley hoodoo, it's now. We’ve won seven out of our last eight games in all competitions and face opposition in the league below, whose main goal-scorer is out. Whilst we shouldn't treat Tranmere as easy pickings, we sit a full twenty-four league places above them so I'll predict a 3-1 Sunderland win and pray we don’t mess it up!