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The three dangermen who will likely have a say in whether Sunderland win tomorow’s game v Pompey

“Because I’m absolutely sick of writing about Portsmouth I decided to look at who I think are the three men standing between Sunderland and a victory in the first leg”, writes Graham Falk.

Portsmouth v Sunderland - Checkatrade Trophy Final Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Aiden McGeady

League One Games/Goals: 34/11

If the Irishman’s importance to Sunderland wasn’t already evident, our two unacceptable defeats to Fleetwood Town and Southend United without him made it glaringly obvious.

After playing since March with a broken foot, the one positive of our back-to-back defeats is that McGeady could put his feet up and rest, ready to go in the play-offs and drive us to Wembley.

Despite not beating Pompey this season, it’s obvious that they’re absolutely terrified of him and know, if he’s in the right mood, he could torture them at the Stadium of Light this Saturday night - hence why they kicked the life out of him at the start of the month.

If McGeady turns up, he could win this play-off semi final first leg on his own.

He’s THAT good.

Sunderland v Walsall - Sky Bet League One Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images

Craig Macgillivray

League One Games/Clean Sheets: 46/11

I have a feeling the Scottish goalkeeper still has a pivotal part to play in this two-legged affair. Whilst many point to the danger of Jamal Lowe and the recently returning Ronan Curtis, Macgillivray was, in my opinion, the man who won Portsmouth the EFL Trophy - and his performance at the Stadium of Light at the end of April made sure his team left Wearside with at least a point.

A similar performance from the former Shrewsbury Town stopper could mean Portsmouth go into the second leg with all the momentum - let’s hope he has an uncharacteristic stinker.

Portsmouth v Queens Park Rangers - FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Chris Maguire

League One Games/Goals: 33/7

Looking for a man for the big occasion? Look no further than Chris Maguire.

When it comes to big game players there aren’t many more who’ll be up for this game than the Scottish midfielder. He’s managed two get ninety minutes under his belt at Southend following his return from a broken leg and he’ll be determined to be the man that gets the Lads to Wembley after missing out on the Checkatrade Trophy final in March.

This season has definitely been a case of when Chris Maguire plays well, Sunderland seem to turn it up a notch and there’s no doubting his ability to influence a game.

If The King and McGeady are on form over these two legs, I think it could be massive in deciding who progressing to the Play-off final.

Gillingham v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

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