|Portsmouth 2 v 0 Sunderland|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 1st February 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Formbook faces Fratton poser as Pompey and Sunderland put ambitions on the line
Friday, 31st Jan 2020 20:42 by pompey-fans.com staff
It's a meeting of two of the form teams in League One. Pompey have taken 20 points from their past ten games, Sunderland 19.
Not quite a meeting of an immovable object and an unstoppable force, but getting on for it.
Both sides had mediocre starts to the season - and that's being kind - but both have clicked into gear in the past couple of months to announce themselves as serious contenders for promotion to the Championship.
All of which means Saturday's Fratton Park clash between the pair could be a classic - or could be so tight it is forgettable.
Pompey head into the weekend seventh, Sunderland fifth but only four points separate third from seventh. No play-off places will be confirmed or lost this early in the second half of the season but this feels like a pivotal fixture.
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett told the club website: 'The two clubs have got here in different directions – Sunderland came down from the Premier League and Championship, while we had four years in League Two.
'We hope that we’re building up, but it makes it a great game – just like the ones we had against them last season. Both sides are looking to do well and are among some very good teams at the top of the League One table.
'They’re all going to be important games because it’s so tight, but facing Sunderland is big at any stage of the season. We’ve played eight matches in January – winning seven of them and drawing one. There are another eight scheduled for February, so we’re looking to keep performing how we have been.
'The top two is open for a number of teams when you look at the points total, so we’re looking forward and trying to maintain our recent form. We have to make sure we get our consistency and organisation right to take the opportunity that is there for us.'
Jackett has no new injury worries and is likely to pick a starting XI largely the same as the one who were on duty for the 2-0 win at Lincoln, or even go unchanged.
He told the website: 'We’re looking okay and I don’t think there are any problems from Tuesday’s game. We’ll be selecting from the same squad we had for Lincoln and that’s positive for us. We’ve got good competition for places at the moment.
'There are a lot of games through January and February, so we will need everyone through that period and beyond. Bryn Morris is still out, but he’s someone with an incredibly high work-rate, who’s trying to get to a level where he can deal with the rigours of professional football.'