How Sunderland new-boy Marc McNulty will draw on Portsmouth experience to boost Black Cats' promotion bid
There’s no room for sentiment. Former Pompey striker Marc McNulty has his focus firmly on promotion with Sunderland this season.
And the ex-Blues favourite will be drawing on the relationship he built up with the Fratton faithful in order to fulfil his Stadium of Light ambitions.
The striker completed a season-long loan move to Pompey’s League One rivals from Reading on Wednesday.
He’ll compete with the likes of Will Grigg and Charlie Wyke to spearhead Sunderland's latest promotion push.
And could line up against former employers Pompey when the Black Cats host Kenny Jackett's side on August 17.
McNulty was a huge hit on the south coast after arriving on loan from Sheffield United in November 2015.
The 26-year-old scored 12 goals in 34 games as the Blues’ then League Two promotion hopes were dashed by Plymouth in the play-off semi-finals.
Pompey suffered a similar experience at the end of last season, with Sunderland putting their Championship dreams to bed for another year with a 1-0 aggregate win over two legs.
That was the final instalment of an intense rivalry between the clubs that gathered pace over the course of the 2018-19 season and was magnified by the Blues’ Checkatrade Trophy final success over Jack Ross’ side in March.
Both clubs will no doubt be up there again competing for promotion at the end of this season.
There’s always that type of expectation on clubs like Pompey and Sunderland, particularly at this level.
But McNulty believes he’ll be able to deal with his latest challenge thanks to past experiences at the likes of Pompey and Sheffield United.
The Scot told the Sunderland Echo: ‘One of the main reasons I chose to come to Sunderland was the expectations of the fans, the people at the club and the manager.
‘I’ve been at clubs like Sheffield United, Portsmouth and Coventry City, there are high expectations because they want you win every game.
‘They think you should be in the league above and that you should be getting promoted, so the reason I wanted to come to Sunderland is because everyone knows the club at minimum should be in the Championship.
‘I’m here to get promoted - that’s the main thing.’
McNulty, who was on loan at Hibs last term, added: ‘It is an honour to play for such a big club.
‘I had offers from clubs at a higher level, but when Sunderland come calling, it’s a no brainer, so as soon as I knew the offer was on the table, I just wanted to get the deal done.’