Kenny Jackett relishing 'terrific occasion' as Portsmouth renew rivalry with Sunderland

Kenny Jackett surveyed Pompey’s latest battle with Sunderland and declared: It’ll be a terrific occasion.

Saturday, 1st February 2020, 10:30 am

The Blues meet their fellow League One heavyweights for a seventh time in just more than 13 months today at Fratton Park.

Each of the previous showdowns between the former Premier League clubs have been close affairs.

Kenny Jackett’s men triumphed in the Checkatrade Trophy final at Wembley last season, although it was the Black Cats who prevailed in the play-off semi-finals.

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Sunderland’s defeat to Charlton in the final meant they remained shackled to the third tier for another campaign along with Pompey, however.

Both sides again have designs on promotion and have gathered momentum following spluttering starts to the season.

The Blues are seventh in the table on 44 points – one point and two places behind the Wearsiders – but with a game in hand.

A victory for Jackett’s troops will see them leapfrog Sunderland, though, and the boss is relishing the meeting.

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett in the Wembley technical area. Picture: Joe Pepler

He said: ‘It’s a big game and Sunderland is a fantastic game for us.

‘We’re both big clubs and Sunderland, like ourselves, have been in good form of late and are looking to get one of those three promotion places.

‘It’ll be a tough game and there will be a great atmosphere. We are determined to do our best and see if we can continue our run.

‘We’ve played each other a lot of times and all of them have been tight, very very close games.

‘Both sides were all out to go out to get up last season and got into the play-offs. Both sides will again be going right to the end to get one of those three promotion places.

‘It sets it up for a terrific game, a good occasion. Both sides have good quality and I’m sure it will be again.’