The similarities are extended with both clubs having won just one of their final five matches, leaving them to scrap for a place against Blackpool or Oxford United in the final.
There was a time earlier in the season when Lincoln looked on course for automatic promotion after 16 wins were recorded from their opening 25 fixtures.
However, it took four victories from five outings in April for Michael Appleton's side to guarantee a playoff spot, the bare minimum expected after their exploits at the back end of 2020.
With five clean sheets having been kept in eight games, Appleton and his squad should be relatively confident about progressing past an inconsistent Sunderland outfit.
That said, eight goals were conceded in the other three matches, all of which came against teams who ended the season in the top seven.
Jorge Grant finished the campaign with 21 contributions in the final third, but the playmaker has registered just three in his last five appearances.
Like their hosts, Sunderland found results hard to come by during the run-in, with the Black Cats being limited to six points from five encounters.
Lee Johnson's men required four points from their closing double-header against Plymouth Argyle and Northampton Town to finish in fourth spot.
Worryingly for Johnson, his Sunderland backline has now gone 10 games without keeping a clean sheet, their efforts not helped by a season-ending injury to Dion Sanderson.
Although Charlie Wyke has been instrumental in attack this season, the club's top goalscorer has netted in just two of 11 matches since March 20.
Having missed two months of action through injury, Tom Flanagan may be selected on Sunderland substitutes' bench.
Appleton has revealed that Joe Walsh suffered a minor reaction after making his comeback from injury during the club's final two fixtures.
However, with plenty of recovery time, the defender is expected to line up in the middle of the backline alongside Timothy Eyoma.
Lincoln have also been provided with special dispensation to sign a replacement goalkeeper after Alex Palmer was ruled out with a head injury.
Stoke City stopper Joe Bursik joined the club on Tuesday and is expected to start between the sticks.
Lincoln City possible starting lineup:
Bursik; Poole, Eyoma, Walsh, Edun; McGrandles, Bridcutt, Grant; Johnson, Hopper, Rogers
Sunderland possible starting lineup:
Burge; Power, Wright, O'Nien, Hume; Scowen, Leadbitter; Jones, Gooch, McGeady; Wyke
We say: Lincoln City 1-1 Sunderland
With both teams having struggled for form in recent weeks, we do not expect a classic at Sincil Bank.
Sunderland will fancy their chances of returning to the North-East with an advantage, but we are backing the home side to remain on level terms ahead of the second leg.