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Sunderland: Bailey Wright was Alex Neil’s real play-off hero

Sunderland secured their place in the League One play-off final against Wycombe as they beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 on aggregate.

The Black Cats won the first leg 1-0 as Ross Stewart pounced on a defensive mistake to convert one-on-one against the goalkeeper.

Wednesday came out firing at Hillsborough in the second leg and eventually found their equaliser in the tie as Lee Gregory put them ahead on the night. However, Alex Neil’s team dug in deep and sent the away fans into raptures as Patrick Roberts scored the goal to send them to Wembley in the 93rd minute.

Will Sunderland beat Wycombe?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Whilst the ex-Manchester City gem will take plaudits because of his tie-winning contribution at the end of the match, Sunderland’s real play-off hero was central defender Bailey Wright.

The Australian enforcer was sublime at the heart of the backline as he put in an almost faultless display full of character and quality.

Roker Report writer Philip West showered the former Bristol City tank with praise, tweeting: “Bailey Wright, what a warrior. Bloodstained shirt, blood trickling down his face, but he was an absolute rock tonight. That’s what playing for this club is about. Heart of a lion.”

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These comments illustrate the commitment shown by Wright throughout the game as he put his body on the line for his team. He was throwing himself in the firing line to block shots and made sure that he was the first to react when balls were sent into the penalty box.

As you can see from these statistics, via SofaScore, the defender was superb out of possession. He dominated the opposition as he won the majority of his physical battles, which backs up West’s praise of his performance on Monday night.

On the ball, the Australian completed five of his 11 long pass attempts and had 45 touches throughout the match. Wright spent the bulk of his time defending his own goal rather than being in possession for the Black Cats and, as such, his statistics are not overly impressive on this front.

However, his defending was enough to get the job done for Sunderland, and the fans will surely have enjoyed his passion and commitment at the back. They will want to see their players leaving everything out on the pitch, and that is what the 29-year-old did against Sheffield Wednesday.

AND in other news, Neil can blow SAFC supporters away with £3.4k-p/w gem who was made “in a laboratory”…

Article title: Sunderland: Bailey Wright was Alex Neil’s real play-off hero

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