Midfielder Tom Naylor ready for another feisty affair with Portsmouth set for Sunderland showdown

Tom Naylor branded games with Sunderland 'feisty'. Picture: Joe Pepler
Tom Naylor branded games with Sunderland 'feisty'. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Tom Naylor is up for another ‘feisty’ Sunderland showdown.

But the midfielder called on his team to focus on the job at hand as they renew acquaintances with their League One rivals.

Pompey make the long trip north for the televised lunchtime kick-off after facing the Black Cats on five occasions last term.

This weekend’s game will also be the fifth time the Blues have faced Jack Ross’ side in 20 weeks since the Checkatrade Trophy final win at Wembley.

Those games have varied in quality but all have had an edge about them.

Naylor believes Saturday will be no different but his team can’t afford to be affected by distractions.

Tom Naylor branded games with Sunderland 'feisty'. Picture: Joe Pepler

Tom Naylor branded games with Sunderland 'feisty'. Picture: Joe Pepler

He said: ‘We played them a lot last season and it’s usually feisty.

‘We need to go there with the mind set it’s about the three points and not think about anything else.

‘I presume we will both be there or thereabouts so it will be nice to pick up three points against them on Saturday.

‘We’ve got them and then another hard game against Coventry.

‘It’s Sunderland we’re looking at next and we’re up for it.’

The bookies have Sunderland and Pompey down as the two main contenders to make it into the Championship next season.

The Blues have moved in front of the rivals with the oddsmakers, after the Wearsiders failed to win their first two league fixtures following draws with Peterborough and Oxford.

Naylor knows eyes will be on his team to bridge the narrow gap between success and failure last term, after accumulating 88 points.

And after eight signings across the summer, the man who wore the captain’s armband against Tranmere feels Pompey are well equipped to deliver.

Naylor added: ‘It’s a tough one to call but we’ve got a lot of good players.

‘Everyone will expect us both to be up there and hopefully we can be.

‘The aim is to go up automatically.

‘We were a little unfortunate getting over that final hurdles last season.

‘But we’ve brought in some great players over the window and we’ve got every confidence we can do it.’