Once the scourge of Portsmouth – but Peter Hartley hoping Blues overcome Sunderland and reach Championship

He was the scourge of Pompey in the League Two play-offs three years ago.

Saturday, 11th May 2019, 1:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 11:52 am

But Peter Hartley is rooting for the Blues to earn promotion into the Championship this season.

The centre-back’s stoppage-time header at Home Park sent Plymouth to Wembley in 2016, while Pompey were condemned to a fourth season in the Football League’s basement division.

The Blues are ready to ride the play-off rollercoaster again – this time with Kenny Jackett at the helm.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Peter Hartley nets Plymouth's winner against Pompey in the 2016 League Two play-off final. Picture: Joe Pepler

They travel to Sunderland tonight (7.30pm) for the first leg before the return game takes place at Fratton Park on Thursday (7.45pm).

Now at Motherwell, Hartley sees similarities between the tie as to when the Blues and Plymouth met three years ago,

And despite graduating through Sunderland’s academy, the 31-year-old feels it’s about time Pompey had enough crack in the Championship.

Hartley said: ‘Pompey have already done one over Sunderland and that will be in Sunderland’s minds.

‘I’ve played for Sunderland as well and the fans won’t make it easy for Pompey.

‘I have always likes Portsmouth.

‘I know it’s easy to say but, similarly to Plymouth, they have been through a lot of rubbish over the years.

‘It’s nice to see a club like that taking a step backwards to take two forwards.

‘If they can get over that hurdle and get into the Championship then it will be fantastic and will definitely lift the city.

‘It is a strange one for me. I was a young boy when I was at Sunderland and it is two massive teams.

‘That game probably justifies what the final should be – a similar position to Pompey and Plymouth in that League Two play-off.

‘It’s the luck of the draw. I’d like to see Pompey get it done given what they’ve been through, while Sunderland are in the rebuilding stage at the minute.

'Pompey are working their way back and deserve that crack in the Championship having waited so many years for it.’