Sunderland boss Alex Neil makes Hillsborough atmosphere claim as Sheffield Wednesday aim to overturn first leg deficit

Sunderland boss Alex Neil feels it's going to be "doubly-difficult" for his side when they take on Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Monday night.

The Black Cats recorded a 1-0 win in the first leg of the League One play-off semi-final at Hillsborough on Friday, with Ross Stewart's goal in first-half stoppage time giving Neil's side the edge heading into the second leg in South Yorkshire.

Monday's fixture at Hillsborough is a sell-out and Neil is expecting a hostile atmosphere but has backed his players to see the job through.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

“It’s certainly not going to be easy. We know how tough of a game it’s going to be but there’s a big prize at the end of it," said Neil.

“You could see with the lads effort tonight how desperate they are to do well for this club and for themselves and each other. All we can do is go there and do our best and we will do our best.

“We’ll be organised, we’ll know exactly what we are trying to do and we’ll carry it out as best as we can. If we continue to do that then there’s no reason why we can’t go there and get a result.

"We know it’s going to be doubly-difficult on Monday night because they will do likewise in terms of the atmosphere. I’m confident in this group, and hopefully people can see that.

"I’m not fearful of going anywhere, we’ve been to big stadiums and won, the players have performed very well since I’ve been here. We carry a threat and we’re defensively solid. It’s not going to be easy but there’s a lot to like [about us]."

ALEX NEIL: The Sunderland boss watched his side beat Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 on Friday night. Picture: Getty Images.

Sunderland could have gone into the second leg with a bigger advantage as Alex Pritchard hit the woodwork and other chances went begging before the home side had to survive a stern examination in the closing stages.

Neil added: “The only disappointment from our point of view was probably the fact that we didn’t add to the scoreline.

“Particularly from half-time to about 75 minutes, we probably had two or three glorious chances to double the scoreline, and it certainly wouldn’t have been any more than we deserved at that point.”

ADVANTAGE SUNDERLAND: Ross Stewart's goal secured a 1-0 win for Sunderland against Wednesday. Picture: Getty Images.