Portsmouth will travel to the Stadium of Light to square up against Sunderland. The Pompey are on a terrific run of for as they have won eight of their last ten games and they trail second-placed Barnsley by two points having played a game less.
Kenny Jackett’s men have their hopes of qualifying through the direct promotion spots in their own hands, and that should delight them given the form they were in at the beginning of the year. Portsmouth have already got the better of Sunderland twice this season as they won 3-1 at Fratton Park and then won the Checkatrade trophy final on penalties.
Therefore even though the Pompey would be the away side here, they should be feeling relatively confident given the form and record they have had against the Black Cats. Sunderland’s problem has been their defence of late, and they will face a stern test against this in form Portsmouth side. The Wearside outfit needs to go for a win if they want to be in the race for the direct promotion spot and we can expect a closely fought encounter.
Portsmouth Predicted Lineup Vs Sunderland
Craig MacGillivray is set to start in goal once again. Matt Clarke and Christian Burgess are expected to occupy the centre back spots. They will have a physical battle up ahead as Charlie Wyke can be a tough player to handle. Nathan Thompson should be in the right-back role. Lee Brown should cover up as the left back to complete the back four for the away side.
Last summer’s signing Tom Naylor has established himself as the mainstay for his side in the middle of the park, and he is set to start once again. The English midfielder has already played a whopping 48 games this season. He should be partnered by Ben Close who has managed six goals in League One this season.
Experienced campaigner Brett Pitman should start in the attacking midfield role. Jamal Lowe should occupy the right flank. Ronan Curtis would provide the attacking outlet down the left. The player should be high on confidence as he was announced as the winner of Pompey’s Young Player of the Season this week.
Oliver Hawkins hasn’t done much wrong, but he can make a better impact as a substitute later on in the game. With Sunderland desperately needing a win, Hawkins can be tough to handle in the second half when Sunderland players will be slightly tired. Therefore James Vaughan should lead the line at the start of the game
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