Graeme Souness issues Leeds United play-off final verdict as Portsmouth's rivals tipped to lose key man

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All the latest news surrounding Portsmouth’s Championship rivals as preparations begin for next season.

Portsmouth will already be preparing for next season as they bid to take the step up to the Championship in their stride. Pompey were a class above the rest of League One in the season just gone, and fans will be dreaming of following Ipswich Town’s lead in securing back-to-back promotions.

But that is no easy task, the first priority will be to avoid any sort of relegation battle in the Championship next season. In the meantime, we have rounded up all the latest news surrounding Pompey’s new Championship rivals.

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Grayson on Szmodics

Former Leeds United boss Simon Grayson has issued his verdict on Sammie Szmodics’ future amid links with Leicester City and others. "First and foremost, he's had an unbelievable season, the amount of goals and assists he's had in a team that was at the wrong end of the division for most of the season is credit to his ability and his attitude," Grayson told Football League World.

"I think it's a no-brainer that Blackburn will have to sell him because what it will allow them to do is get some money in and reshape the squad, which John Eustace will probably want to do, and hopefully he can use a bit of that money. Sammie will want to go, if not to a Premier League club, it might be one at the top end of the Championship that have maybe been relegated with parachute payments, and he thinks that he's got more of a chance of going back into the Premier League rather than maybe going into the Premier League and being a squad player.

"It's a really difficult situation for him, but I think he probably deserves and will justify the move. Blackburn, like any club, will be wanting to get as much money as possible to help them financially."

Souness on Leeds

Graeme Souness has been speaking about Leeds United’s play-off final with Southampton this weekend, highlighting the pressure that will be on Daniel Farke’s men. He wrote in the Daily Mail: I’ve played in European Cup finals but I think I’d be more nervous playing in a Championship Play-off Final at Wembley.

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“Lose a cup final and you can maybe move on with the next game, lose this and you will have the whole summer to dwell on it. Then at the start of the following season, you find yourself back in the Championship and some will be feeling very sorry for themselves. It’s the richest game in football and it’s all about playing in the Premier League. Get there and your value goes up, your stock goes up and your salary. Some of these players could be doubling their wages.

“I’d say Leeds are slight favourites, but I’ve liked the way Southampton have played at times. They were very good in the first half against Liverpool at Anfield against Jurgen Klopp’s press and they have beaten Leeds twice this season. There is so much pressure, it is all about who deals with that the best.”

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