Jack Ross intends to go strong as Sunderland bid to join Pompey in the Checkatrade Trophy final.
The Black Cats head to Bristol Rovers tomorrow night in the second of the competition’s semi-finals.
Kenny Jackett’s Blues booked their place at Wembley with a 3-0 away win at League Two Bury last week.
The Pompey manager named his strongest side yet in the Trophy for the game at Gigg Lane, with youngsters and fringe players used in earlier rounds.
Now it appears Ross may deploy similar tactics as he aims to lead Sunderland to their first Wembley appearance since 2014.
‘I would think it will be the strongest side I've put out in this competition so far,’ said Ross.
‘It is an important game for us.
‘What we've done throughout the competition is pick teams that are aimed at winning the games.
‘We've been able to make changes at different times but those changes have taken different forms.
‘But as the cup competition progresses, other factors enter the equation.
‘One, it's the stage of the tournament.
‘Two, it's the first time we have played a team in our league.
‘And three, it's an away game against a team in our league, whereas the only previous away game was against Morecambe when we were virtually through from the group stage.’
The Checkatrade Trophy final takes place at Wembley on Sunday, March 31.
The Blues have been allocated 39,659 tickets for the game.
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