Portsmouth defender Nathan Thompson thinks his side have an edge on Sunderland after the drama of the Checkatrade Trophy final.
Thompson netted Pompey's equaliser to take the game to extra time, with Kenny Jackett's side eventually winning on penalties.
Pompey currently sit one point above Sunderland in the League One table, but the Black Cats have two games in hand.
The two sides will meet again at the Stadium of Light later this month and Thompson says the final defeat could be tough to recover from.
He also pointed to Sunderland's punishing schedule as the season reaches a crunch point.
“Of course, it’s easy for me to say that but we’re hoping it does give us an edge," Thompson said.
"It certainly can’t do us any harm.
"It’s their response now.
"To lose in the manner they did after being one up at half-time and in control of the game, that must be hard to take.
“But we came out in the second half and really showed our character and that will hold us in good stead," he added.
“Right now, it certainly feels like we’ve got an edge. I’ve been on a losing side at Wembley and walking out of here is a horrible feeling without a winners’ medal around your neck and
takes time to get out of the system
“We’ve still got to go to the Stadium of Light and that is another huge game.
“We beat Sunderland at our place and now here. They will be well aware they have not beaten us this season.
“They have a lot of Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday games coming up. They are now three games behind Barnsley.
“Who knows what will happen. This time of year can generate some strange results."
Midfielder Gareth Evans, whose second half introduction was key in the game, wasn't so sure but says Pompey believe they can put a strong run together between now and the end of the season.
“I’m not too sure," he said.
"But we will find out in the next few weeks. We’ll enjoy this but then it’s a case of buckling down, producing performances like we did after half-time here and see where it takes us.
“We’re confident we can put a run together between now and the end of the season.
"The two sets of supporters made this a quite fantastic occasion and to win it was the icing on the cake," he added.
“Both sets have been through hard times so it was nice they could have a day out and it’s just lovely to see the Portsmouth fans celebrating like that. Let’s hope it’s not the last time they are celebrating this season.
“That’s the loudest game I’ve been involved in. It was unbelievable."