Sunderland v Portsmouth
Sky Bet League One
Stadium of Light
Kick-Off: 3pm - Saturday 24th October, 2020
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via www.safc.com
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Newcastle (not online)
Don’t forget to follow the blow-by-blow account of the game on the Roker Report Twitter feed (@RokerReport) and check out the player ratings after the full-time whistle at www.RokerReport.com!
Another huge test for Phil Parkinson and his side to prove we are top contenders for automatic promotion, as we once again renew our odd League One rivalry with Kenny Jackett’s Portsmouth.
Sunderland could go six points clear of Portsmouth having played a game less if they claim victory at the Stadium of Light. So far, Pompey have won three and lost two in their first seven fixtures in League One, and last time out took all three points at Gillingham with a convincing 2-0 win.
Despite finishing in the play-offs two seasons in a row, Kenny Jackett is again under pressure on the South Coast as they have so far stuttered in League One this term, but with Sunderland still unbeaten in six they face a difficult task to appease the Fratton Park faithful that this is the season they will finally return to the Championship.
Sunderland Team News
‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is the old adage, and I’m sure this will be on Phil Parkinson’s mind as Jordan Willis and Jon Flanagan come back into contention for a starting position.
Luke O’Nien was most observers stand out player in an unfamiliar position on the left of the back three against Crewe, and Connor McLaughlin did nothing wrong so it would be a huge call for the Sunderland manager to make a change.
Up top, Charlie Wyke had one of his better performances in a Sunderland shirt last time out and it would be another bold call if he made way for either Danny Graham or Will Grigg, but with the level of rotation so far in that area of the team not many would be surprised if a change was made.
Possible XI: Lee Burge, Connor McLaughlin, Bailey Wright, Luke O’Nien, Lynden Gooch, Grant Leadbitter, Max Power (c), Denver Hume, Josh Scowen, Chris Maguire, Charlie Wyke
Portsmouth Team News
Although Kenny Jackett’s side have been inconsistent so far this season, they were much improved last time out during a 2-0 away victory at Gillingham.
Despite ex-Coventry City striker Jordy Hiwula signing on a short-term deal after being a free-agent over the summer, it is unlikely he will come straight into the side following a good performance last time out for Pompey.
Possible XI: MacGillvray, Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown, Williams, Naylor, Cannon, Jacobs, Marquis, Harness,
Last Time We Met... at the Stadium of Light
Saturday 17th August 2019: Sky Bet League One
Sunderland 2 - 1 Portsmouth (Willis 27’, Maguire 39’ - Harness 22’)
Sunderland: J. McLaughlin, O’Nien, Ozturk, Willis, C. McLaughlin, Gooch, Power, Leadbitter, McGeady (Grigg), Maguire (Hume), McNulty (Wyke) Substitutes not used: Burge, Flanagan, McGeouch, Dobson
Portsmouth: MacGillivray, Walkes (McCrorie), Brown, Naylor, Downing, Burgess, Harness, Close, Marquis, Cannon (Evans), Curtis (Harrison) Substitutes not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Raggett, Pitman
The bookmakers consider this to be a closer game than our previous game at home to Crewe, and have the home side at 6/5 with an away win on offer at 12/5.
For a correct score, another 1-0 victory for Sunderland is 6/1 and interestingly the favourite correct score on offer is 1-1 which is available at 4/1.
Chris Maguire and Danny Graham are joint favourites to open the scoring for Sunderland and is 4/1, closely followed by Charlie Wyke at 5/1.
These games are usually close run affairs but I strangely feel confident, and it’s been so long since I’ve felt this optimistic that I’m going to get carried away with it. We have been so dominant in recent games that unless they Pompey get a penalty or a thirty-yard screamer I just can’t see them hurting us.
At the other end we seem to be slowly improving game on game at creating chances, so here’s where the two finally marry up and we get a convincing two goal victory.
Sunderland 2 - 0 Portsmouth