Sunderland will be aiming to build upon their recent victory over Plymouth Argyle when they face Northampton Town in League One this weekend.
As a result of their recent triumph, the Black Cats are guaranteed a place in the play-offs and will now be looking to build up some momentum heading into this knock-out competition.
In order to have the best chance of booking their place at Wembley Stadium for the second time this season following their EFL Trophy success in March, Sunderland will be hoping to turn to forward Charlie Wyke for inspiration.
Having missed his side’s clash with Plymouth due to an issue with his thigh, the 28-year-old is now facing a battle to be fit for Sunderland’s upcoming fixtures.
A pivotal player for the Black Cats this season, Wyke has set the third-tier alight by finding the back of the net on 25 occasions in League One.
Yet despite his goal-scoring escapades, the forward has yet to commit his future to Sunderland with his current deal set to expire in June.
Former Scotland international Mark Wilson revealed in an episode of the Celtic Huddle Podcast last month that the Bhoys are understood to be tracking Wyke’s situation at the Stadium of Light ahead of a potential swoop this summer.
Making reference to this speculation, Kevin Phillips has admitted that he wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Wyke leave Sunderland if Celtic are indeed interested in signing him.
Speaking to Football Insider about whether the forward would be attracted by a potential switch to the Bhoys, the 47-year-old said: “When a move like that comes around you have to take it.
“You think that it won’t come around again if you don’t take it.
“If Celtic did come in for Wyke with a serious offer then the player would have no option but to go.
“It would be incredible for the play in front of a full Celtic Park.
“If they came in I think the player would jump at the chance to be honest with you.”
GIVEMESPORT’s Joshua Cole says…
When you consider just how important Wyke has been for Sunderland this season, it would be a major blow if they were to lose him during the upcoming transfer window.
As well as being directly involved in 34 goals in all competitions, the forward is currently averaging a WhoScored match rating of 7.36 in League One which is the second-highest total recorded by a Black Cats player behind Aiden McGeady.
Although Wyke could be tempted by a move to Celtic, he may struggle for game-time if he does commit to a switch due to the presence of Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths who are both proven goal-scorers in the Scottish Premiership.
Therefore, unless the Bhoys are able to guarantee him a place in their starting eleven, the forward may find it more beneficial to stay at Sunderland if they secure promotion to the Championship as it will give him the chance to test himself at a higher level.