Bailey Wright is having to deal with expectancy of two fronts as he prepares to play his part in Sunderland’s bid for Sky Bet League One play-off glory.
The defender is due to become a father on the day of the final, leaving the Black Cats making plans for their two-legged semi-final showdown with Lincoln knowing the 28-year-old could be called away at any time.
Wright’s situation is one of a series of selection dilemmas facing head coach Lee Johnson as he attempts to end the club’s three-year exile in the third tier of English football.
Asked about the process of finalising his team ahead of Wednesday’s first leg trip the the LNER Stadium, Johnson said with a smile: “If only you knew! I could probably make a movie out of the last 12 or 13 games. It’s almost like a game of Boggle – eventually it settles.
“You’re always conscious not to show your hand too early as a football manager because you can get little knocks and niggles, or poor form or attitude errors all the way building up into the week.
“You have to remember they are all human beings with partners and families. Bailey Wright’s wife is due to give birth on the day of the play-off final.
“Obviously, leading up to it with the Lincoln games, there’s a potential that the baby may well come early.
“The due date is bang on point for the play-off final day, so there’s a lot of logistics that we’re having to go through to make sure that we still get Bailey Wright, but also that Bailey Wright still gets to see his baby if we get to that point.”
Wright has made 38 appearances so far this season, seven of them in the final seven games of the campaign following his return from a calf injury.