Pompey to chime through at Fratton Park
Portsmouth have it all to do following a narrow defeat at the Stadium of Light. Can Kenny Jackett’s men turn the tide back on the south coast?
There was a lot of talk before the game about the absence of Aiden McGeady who injured himself in the warm-up. He has been the stand out player for Sunderland this season and was righty named in the InStat Football Team of the Season but the Black Cats made light of the situation bringing in the energetic Lynden Gooch.
Despite being slow to get going they eventually started to assert themselves on the game and created a few openings.
These two are fairly well matched with the first-leg proving to be a competitive, even game but one of few chances.
If the Pompey ‘keeper, Craig MacGillivray hadn’t made a terrific save using his face then Portsmouth would have a mountain to climb rather than a small hill.
What is evident is that these two are not each other’s biggest fan so it is probably good that the return leg will bring one sides season to an end. They might just have cooled off in time for the 2019-20 campaign.
Are Black Cats lucky?
I can never remember what is supposed to happen if a black cat crosses your path, perhaps just try not to stand on its tail but Sunderland are probably going to have to ride their luck if they are to come away from Fratton Park unscathed.
Pompey have not always been convincing at home this season with first-half displays particularly disappointing but in a they have to win they might step up a level.
Portsmouth’s home ground may be holding them back in some respects but it is also one of the best atmospheres you will experience in the EFL and could aid the hosts in their efforts to turn this tie around.
The Lowe down
Jamal Lowe has been excellent all season for Portsmouth. He has a wonderful turn of pace and is a decent finisher. His ability to take players on and threaten while on the counter-attack means that Pompey are always dangerous even when not on top.
They also have Ronan Curtis, Omar Bogle, Brett Pitman and Ollie Hawkins to call upon so Sunderland’s backline will have to be at their best just as Luke O’Nien was in the first-leg.
Portsmouth v Sunderland Betting tip
This one is particularly hard to call now given the Black Cats have something to hold on to but Portsmouth can be devastating at times and if Kenny Jackett gets them firing they should be able to overcome a single goal deficit from Saturday. With that in mind, backing Portsmouth to win at odds of 13/10 should bring you home a profit.