Sunderland v Portsmouth: What Danny Cowley had to say about Black Cats, their promotion chances, Ross Stewart and Blues-linked Denver Hume
Pompey head to Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on Saturday to reacquaint themselves with all-too familiar foes in recent seasons.
Thirteen points and six places separate the duo in the League One table, with the Black Cats sitting third and the Blues in ninth.
However, their last meeting saw Danny Cowley’s side thumb Lee Johnson’s men 4-0 at a rain-soaked Fratton Park back in October.
And it’s with that game that we started off our short Sunderland chat with the Pompey boss.
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Here’s what he had to say...
Q Danny, the previous game with Sunderland was a little unusual, it’s fair to say.
‘I thought it was a great game.
‘I was really pleased with our performance in the game, I think the conditions were challenging - certainly in the second half of that game.
‘But I thought we managed the conditions really, really well and it was a good performance from us in and out of possession against what is one of the best teams in the division.’
Q Can we read much into that game ahead of this one?
‘I don’t think we can read too much into it.
‘I think Sheffield Wednesday won convincingly at home against Sunderland and then lost convincingly away against Sunderland.
‘I think this is League One, we know the games are very, very competitive in this division, we know there's very little between the teams, but in any given game, as we saw in the Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland fixtures, there can be these types of results.’
Q What do you make of Sunderland at the moment?
‘They're a good team, with a lot to like and respect.
‘They're a juggernaut of a football club, they’ve obviously got a huge resource, a fantastic squad, they have a real lovely blend of experience with some young players that are on an upward curve.
‘I think they're a real threat going forward with Ross Stewart - one of the best forwards in the division.
‘He's got very good movement, is very good in the box, gets across the front so well but also can drift off a defender and has the physical profile to score goals at the back post as well.
‘The three players behind him have got real talent, always able to find a moment extra, find the extra pass, quality in the action before the final action - the likes of Alex Pritchard, Elliot Embleton, Lynden Gooch, the German boy Dajaku.
‘Yeah, they have a lot of quality in the final third and it is no surprise where they are in the league.
‘I anticipate they will be in the top two positions come may.’
Q Coincidentally, you've been linked with Denver Hume who is one of their players. Is there anything in that?
‘I think we are being linked with a lot of players from a lot of clubs.
‘I certainly won’t be talking about a player that plays in a team that we are coming up against on Saturday.
‘I don’t think that would be fair on Lee Johnson or Sunderland as a football club.
‘I am aware of him as a player, I have just spent 48 hours watching Sunderland, so he’s a player that we know.’