Gaffer: Still Sunderland’s promotion to lose, despite fantastic Portsmouth form
Gaffer for a Day, Richard Brook, aged 45 from Roslin, Scotland, looks ahead to Pompey’s trip to Burton...
A few weeks ago I thought it was Sunderland's to lose – I still think it is. We are at the Stadium of Light in a few weeks and have to win all five of our remaining games.
If we get a draw at Burton it would still be a good result, but I think that will be us for the play-offs. This is a must win.
Of the challengers for second place, whoever drops points at this point are going to be playing catch up. We cannot afford to do that.
Charlton are the dark horses and certainly a team which plays in the style of their manager. They are the ones to avoid in the play-offs, but hopefully we will go up.
Having said, that I still think it’s Sunderland’s to lose. The game against them in a couple of weeks will be the crunch one.
The pressure is on the Black Cats and it is theirs to throw away.
I remember May 1993 at Roker Park when we lost 4-1 to end hopes of automatic promotion under Jim Smith. I was there, that game was a complete disaster and I don’t want a repeat of it.
Still, before that April 27 fixture, we head to Burton on the back of six-successive wins with confidence sky high. I would keep the same team which defeated Rochdale.
Kenny Jackett has this side focused, no doubt about that. I went to Shrewsbury and, despite having a Wembley final coming up, there was no impression of the players subconsciously easing up to avoid injury.
That impressed me and credit to the players and management for this ongoing run.
Burton is going to be tough, look at what they’ve done to Barnsley and Sunderland in recent weeks. Still, I’m going for a 2-1 win to Pompey.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray, Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown, Naylor, Close, Lowe, Pitman, Curtis, Hawkins.