Kenny Jackett: Portsmouth’s atmosphere is famous – and we need its help to defeat Sunderland

Kenny Jackett insists Fratton Park is famous for its atmosphere - and wants it at full voice against Sunderland. Picture: Joe Pepler
Kenny Jackett insists Fratton Park is famous for its atmosphere - and wants it at full voice against Sunderland. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Kenny Jackett is relishing unleashing Fratton Park’s ‘famous’ atmosphere upon Sunderland.

And he has urged the Fratton faithful to recreate the intensity which memorably marked Wigan’s downfall on their April 2018 visit.

The Blues’ hopes of play-off progression hinge entirely on tonight’s outcome of their semi-final second leg with the Black Cats.

Trailing 1-0 from Saturday’s opening encounter, Jackett’s men possess prized home advantage to aid the challenge of overhauling the deficit to reach Wembley once more.

A midweek Fratton Park fixture under lights is always an occasion to be savoured – with today representing the final match before the ground’s iconic floodlight pylons are removed.

And Pompey’s boss recognises the crucial role a vociferous home support can play in such a crucial clash.

He said: ‘I’ve always said since I have been a manager, it’s a weapon to use.

‘We will only do it by producing a performance of quality and enthusiasm – and we are capable of that.

‘We will need our A game, definitely. If that is the case, there is no better place to play your football.

‘The big games under the lights, the floodlit games, the games at Fratton Park, they are the games you are in it for. You should enjoy it and rise to the challenge.

‘It’s a big challenge – but the atmosphere and passion of the fans is a great asset to Portsmouth.

‘Fratton Park is a unique place in terms of the atmosphere it generates. It’s quite an old stadium, it bounces off one side to the other, it is famous and renowned.

‘That’s how it should be. And it’s up to us to really try to bring that into play and bring it to our advantage.’

Introduced in October 1962, Fratton Park’s four floodlight pylons are to be removed this summer to allow ground development.

Before their impending demise, there remains one final Pompey match to survey.

And Jackett is craving a repeat of his most memorable Fratton atmosphere – Wigan.

He added: ‘Maybe Wigan last year is my most memorable, when we won 2-1. The atmosphere did seem to start high and get higher.

‘The way the game went, us scoring twice, then for the last 20 minutes they had so much of it and we tried to keep them out.

‘Luke McGee made some big saves, Will Grigg missed a header – off the top of my head probably that game stands out.

‘But there have been big cup games here over the years, the big play-off games, and this is one of them.’