The story of the evening as Sunderland ease past Portsmouth in dominant display - and put pressure on League One top two
Sunderland travel to Portsmouth this evening hoping to make it eight games unbeaten in all competitions.
The Black Cats' fine form of late has propelled them back into promotion contention and they currently sit on the periphery of the automatic promotion places after some impressive results.
And victory at Fratton Park this evening could put further pressure on the top two while boosting Sunderland's chances of a return to the Championship.
But while Portsmouth have been out-of-sorts of late, they have always proven a stern test in League One and tonight promises to be no different.
Lee Johnson is hopeful of some late fitness boosts, but could be forced to make do once again with a makeshift back four.
We'll have the latest from the clash via our writers Phil Smith and Mark Donnelly, as we see whether Sunderland can make it three wins on the spin – and claim a first win at Portsmouth since 1997:
FT: Portsmouth 0-2 Sunderland AFC (Wyke 13, Jones 59)
Last updated: Tuesday, 09 March, 2021, 20:35
- Sunderland travel to Portsmouth this evening looking to extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to eight games.
- They face a Pompey side who have won just one of their last six league games.
- Lee Johnson may freshen up his side with Wembley on the horizon - with Lynden Gooch in-line to return.
- SAFC XI: Burge; Power, Sanderson, O’Nien, McFadzean; Jones, Winchester, Scowen, McGeady; Wyke, O’Brien
Some big squad news!
And potentially a big boost defensively for Lee Johnson - with Tom Flanagan having travelled with the squad to the south coast!
BREAKING: THE TEAM NEWS IS IN!
And here’s how Sunderland line-up: Burge; Power, Sanderson, O’Nien, McFadzean; Jones, Winchester, Scowen, McGeady; Wyke, O’Brien
And on the bench: Matthews, Flanagan, Maguire, Gooch, Diamond, Neil, Vokins
That’s just one change from the weekend as Scowen comes in for Younger.
It looks to be a 4-4-2 for Sunderland with Power at right-back.
On the bench, Tom Flanagan and Lynden Gooch return in a welcome boost when it comes to numbers. Flanagan’s return is something of a surprise, though!
And here’s how Portsmouth line-up...
They too look to be in a 4-4-2, so this could be an interesting one!
Half an hour to go!
And the nerves are starting to ramp-up a bit now.
Sunderland are out to warm-up at Fratton Park where the pitch is looking in very decent condition.
We’ve also got all the usual EFL decorations in place - you can tell it’s a televised game!
The pre-match view from both camps is in!
SkySports have been conducting their pre-match interviews...
I think we’ve been energetic, bright and the boys are playing with confidence. Behind the ball we’ve had a good structure, but it’ll be tested today.
We’ll have to show strong resolve to play the football we want to play.
I know Kenny Jackett well and I know the values he brings to a team. I would expect a big reaction.
First off we have to compete against a very good Sunderland side. I do feel having some natural full-backs now available helps in terms of the balance of the team.
We’re disappointed with the way things have gone, but we’re very much in it and the opportunity is there. Tonight we will improve.
Sunderland will always be a force, but having a big game is good for us.
Here we go!
The teams are out the tunnel!
Sunderland, in their traditional red and white stripes, are out first led by Max Power as the famous (or infamous?) Pompey chimes ring out at Fratton Park...
1 - Aaaaaand we’re off!
Portsmouth get us started!
3 - A feisty start!
Some tasty challenges flying in already in this one.
First Harvey White flattens Max Power with a late challenge before Callum McFadzean then collides with John Marquis.
Setting the tone...
4 - CHANCE!
The first chance of the game falls to Sunderland.
Jones does well on the right and gets a cross away, which Wyke meets at the near post.
His header deflects narrowly wide - before the corner comes to nothing.