Portsmouth assistant manager Joe Gallen fires a warning to promotion favourites Sunderland ahead of League One clash
Portsmouth assistant manager Joe Gallen has fired a warning to Sunderland - insisting his side ‘owe them one’ ahead of an early season clash.
The two sides will lock horns in the third week of the new campaign, having faced-off five times in various guises throughout the 2018/19 season.
And with the Black Cats having enjoyed the last laugh in the League One play-off semi-final last term, Gallen believes that his side will be out for revenge when they make the journey to the Stadium of Light on Saturday, August 17.
Indeed, Kenny Jackett’s number two has already started the mind games and has looked to pile pressure on Sunderland - having branded them as favourites for the title ahead of the season kicking-off.
“The history is there now from last season with the two clubs, the sets of fans and big games we’ve played against them,” said Gallen, speaking to the Portsmouth News.
“They knocked us out of the play-offs and we feel like we owe them one and can go up there and get a win.
“One hundred per cent Sunderland, like last season, will be clear favourites to get promotion.
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“We’ll be underdogs and Sunderland will be clear favourites to win the game again.”
And while Gallen insists his side will not be the favourites for the clash, he is already eagerly anticipating a game which could go a long way to shaping the League One table - albeit at an early stage.
For the chance to play in front of a large and boisterous crowd isn’t lost on the former QPR man.
“To be able to go up to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, it’s such a massive game and it is a massive club,” he added.
“It’s one straight away you’re looking forward to because it’s such an exciting fixture.
“Sunderland are a huge club and there potentially could be more than 30,000 people there so we’re pleased to go there early.
“I do look forward to the big games in front of the big crowds and atmospheres because that’s exactly what the players want.”