Sunderland will be looking to build upon their recent victory over Plymouth Argyle this weekend when they host Northampton Town at the Stadium of Light.
Having halted a dismal run of form by claiming all three points in their clash with the Pilgrims, the Black Cats know that a triumph over the Cobblers could see them claim a third-place finish in League One.
With a place in the play-offs already guaranteed, it will be intriguing to see whether manager Lee Johnson opts to make any substantial changes to his side for Sunday's fixture in order to prepare for this knock-out competition.
Whilst Charlie Wyke may miss out for the Black Cats due to an issue with his thigh, the likes of Bailey Wright and Luke O'Nien could feature in the heart of the defence.
After suffering defeat in the play-off final in 2019, Sunderland will be determined to finally secure a return to the Championship via a trip to Wembley Stadium later this month.
Making reference to his side's current situation, Johnson has insisted that he isn't worried about who the Black Cats will face in the play-offs as he believes that the club are good enough to beat anyone in League One.
Speaking to the Shields Gazette ahead of Sunderland's showdown with Northampton, the 39-year-old said: "I want to finish as high as we can, of course.
"But it doesn't matter who we play [in the play-offs].
"I'm not going to try and be tactical to try and finish in a particular position because I want to play against a particular club.
"I believe that, over two legs, if we are at it, we can be successful against anyone."
GIVEMESPORT's Joshua Cole says...
Johnson's bullish comments are hardly surprising when you consider that Sunderland have managed to deliver a host of impressive displays under his guidance in League One during the current campaign.
Whilst the Black Cats did suffer a considerable blip in form last month which ended their chances of achieving automatic promotion, there is no reason why they cannot triumph in the play-offs.
Providing that top-scorer Wyke is able to make a swift return to action, he could potentially fire his side to the second-tier.
Aiden McGeady may also play a pivotal role in the play-offs as he has illustrated this season that he is more than capable of setting the third-tier alight with his performances by being directly involved in 18 goals in 28 appearances.
By maintaining their momentum this weekend by beating Northampton, Sunderland will unquestionably enter this knock-out competition brimming with confidence.News Now - Sport News