Kenny Jackett's belief that Portsmouth can crack impregnable Sunderland defence

With five successive League One clean sheets, Sunderland can, without exaggeration, claim to possess an impregnable defence.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 5:00 pm
Pompey beat Sunderland 2-0 at Fratton Park in February 2020 - the last time the sides met. Picture: Joe Pepler

What’s more, the sole league goal conceded arrived from the penalty spot against Bristol Rovers in mid-September.

The Stadium of Light always represents a daunting fixture – perhaps even more so at present.

Yet Kenny Jackett retains belief that his unpredictable Pompey side can find a way through the Black Cats’ barricades.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Jackett told The News: ‘Sunderland have five clean sheets on the spin in the league and are up there again.

‘Nobody really expected anything different. They were going to be the one of the teams to beat and compete with this year if you want to get promoted.

‘It’s no surprise they have started very, very well. Sunderland/Pompey is always such a big game.

‘We have to play our own game. While we look at the opposition, I believe we must concentrate on ourselves – and we do think we’re capable of scoring goals against anybody.

‘We have to believe in ourselves and make sure we go and play our own game.

‘We hope we can score on Saturday, it has to be our aim.

‘Sunderland are going to be one of the best sides in the league, up there with one of the teams to beat.’

Pompey haven’t triumphed at the Stadium of Light since November 2008.

On that Premier League occasion, Nadir Belhadj and Jermain Defoe were the scorers in a 2-1 triumph after Djibril Cisse had opened the scoring for the hosts.

Although with matches presently behind closed doors, Jackett believes that could have a bearing on Saturday’s fixture.

He added: ‘I have seen some stats on TV where it has evened up massively from home advantage to almost 50/50 since behind closed doors.

‘Similarly, we have experienced some big decisions at home.

‘There was a really good penalty appeal on Andy Cannon against Doncaster at the Fratton end, while you can go back to the first play-off game against Oxford where we had three appeals.

‘I’m not saying we would have definitely got them – but those types of situations can sometimes favour the home team.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

Thank you for reading this story. The News has launched a new subscription offer which gives you unlimited access to all of our Pompey coverage.

You can subscribe here to get the latest news and transfer updates from Fratton Park - and to support our local team of expert Pompey writers.

Every subscription helps us continue providing trusted, local journalism on your behalf for our city.