The Glaswegian youngster is spending a year on the South Coast this season in the blue of Portsmouth as he looks to gain valuable first team experience.
His Pompey career began horribly, receiving his marching orders on opening day at Shrewsbury, but now back from suspension, McCrorie could be the difference between Portsmouth and Sunderland this afternoon.
Still only 21-years-old, the defensive midfielder won’t be overawed by the white-hot atmosphere as shown by his performance in last year’s Old Firm derby win over Celtic, where he received plenty of plaudits for his tough tackling and composure in the centre of the park.
He’s a giant in the middle at 6’3, but is also very mobile and, if he starts, will definitely cause problems for our midfielders.
A man who needs no introduction is key summer signing John Marquis.
Signed from Doncaster Rovers late in July, the agile, aggressive front-man was League One’s leading marksman last year and his form will be key to any success Pompey have.
He hasn’t got off the mark for his new club yet, but you can bet the best way for him to introduce himself would be to notch on Saturday, and with Sunderland’s defence looking weak and vulnerable, he’ll be licking his lips at the thought of upsetting the locals.
The local lad has grown increasingly more important to the Portsmouth cause, becoming one of the first names on Kenny Jackett’s team sheet.
Whereas many point to the talents of his midfielder partner Tom Naylor, the 22-year-old academy graduate has progressed into one of the better holding midfielders in the league, and it was both alarming and impressive the amount of loose balls he picked up to restart Pompey attacks in our Checkatrade Trophy final defeat last March.
Although not known for his goal-scoring prowess, Close is currently Portsmouth’s top scorer and has two in two, with his long range volley in the 3-0 League Cup victory over Birmingham City being particularity impressive (you can view this around 0.55 in the video below).
He’s definitely their in-form player and the Sunderland midfield will need to be on top form to stop him from dictating the play, or we’ll be in trouble.