Heading into this first leg fixture, the hosts are winless in their last three fixtures and were held to a goalless draw by Wimbledon in their final league game of the campaign.
Sunderland have also seen a drop in form in recent games and have just one win in their last five outings. They secured a 1-1 draw against Northampton Town in their last league game of the regular season.
Lincoln City vs Sunderland Head-to-Head
Lincoln City have taken on their northern rivals 13 times across all competitions. Sunderland have been the better side in this fixture, having recorded six wins over the Imps.
The hosts have four wins over the Black Cats but only one of them has come in the 21st century. They have shared the spoils on just three occasions.
They last squared off at the Stadium of Light in League One action in March. That fixture ended in a 1-1 draw.
Lincoln City form guide in League One: D-L-D-W-L
Sunderland form guide in League One: D-W-L-D-D
Lincoln City vs Sunderland Team News
Defender Joe Walsh is the only injury concern for the hosts in this crucial tie. Head coach Michael Appleton informed a press conference last week that the player was suffering from a minor injury and was not training to full capacity as a precaution.
Injured: Joe Walsh
Jordan Willis, Dion Sanderson and Arbenit Xhemajli are the three players currently on the sidelines for Sunderland. Tom Flanagan and Ross Stewart have resumed partial training this week and could make an appearance in the first leg if they pass a fitness test.
Injured: Jake Vokins, Arbenit Xhemajli, Jordan Willis and Dion Sanderson
Doubtful: Tom Flanagan, Ross Stewart
Lincoln City vs Sunderland Predicted XI
Lincoln City Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Alex Palmer; Regan Poole, Lewis Montsma, Timothy Eyoma, Cohen Bramall; James Jones, Conor McGrandles; Anthony Scully, Brennan Johnson, Morgan Rogers; Callum Morton
Sunderland predicted XI (4-2-2-2): Lee Burge; Conor McLaughlin, Luke O'Nien, Bailey Wright, Denver Hume; Max Power, Josh Scowen; Aiden McGeady, Jordan Jones; Lynden Gooch, Charlie Wyke
Lincoln City vs Sunderland Prediction
Both sides have struggled in their recent fixtures. Lincoln City's poor home record does not bode well for them in this fixture. They have had nine losses and five draws in 23 home games this term and have earned more points on their travels than at home.
Sunderland's away record this term has been great and they have lost just thrice on their travels. They have been more prolific away from home and will be hoping to count on this away form to get the job done.
We predict a narrow win for the visitors in this fixture.
Prediction: Lincoln City 1-2 Sunderland