Portsmouth defender Christian Burgess relishing battle with Adebayo Akinfenwa at Wycombe

Christian Burgess is relishing the battle to tame The Beast when the pair renew their rivalry at Adams Park.

Friday, 5th April 2019, 6:30 am

The defender is set to mark Adebayo Akinfenwa for Pompey’s trip to Wycombe tomorrow.

The Chairboys striker has a reputation as a difficult player to nullify because of his physical attributes and upper-body strength.

It’ll be the fifth time Burgess has come up against Akinfenwa during his Blues career.

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Wycombe's Adebayo Akinfenwa

The skirmishes have been close but it’s the Wycombe man who holds the upper hand.

He boasts three victories and scored the winner when Wanderers knocked Pompey out of the FA Cup two seasons ago.

Burgess brags one success, while their meeting at Fratton Park in September ended a 2-2 draw.

The centre-back knows Kenny Jackett’s troops need to get their tactics right to neutralise the threat of the former AFC Wimbledon marksman.

Adebayo Akinfenwa rises above Christian Burgess to score for Wycombe Wanders and knock Pompey out of the FA Cup two seasons ago. Picture: Joe Pepler

And Burgess insists Akinfenwa’s performance must not define the outcome of the clash.

He said: ‘It’s always a tough battle and you have to get your tactics right when you face him.

‘You’ve got to be up for it, cover each other and try to outsmart him.

‘He’s an experienced player and a big, strong lad – but hopefully it won’t define the game.

'We’ve got to go there, show our quality and hopefully it proves too much for Wycombe.

‘He brings other people into the game. He’s a focal point for Wycombe and then they have loads of runners off him.

‘It’s really hard to move him. If he puts himself into a position then it’s hard to move him and change it.

‘You just won’t move him. It’s hard to explain but he’s solid and then you’ve got to play second balls and make sure you’re correct with your positioning.

‘There will be a lot of moving, instructions and things like that.’

Pompey head to Wycombe on the back of their penalty shootout triumph over Sunderland in the Checkatrade Trophy final on Sunday.

The Black Cats dominated the first half at Wembley and took a one-goal lead into the interval.

Kenny Jackett’s men responded well after the break, though, with Burgess believing they improved their ball retention.

And he feels that’ll be key to stop the threat of Akinfenwa.

The former Peterborough man added: ‘You’re not going to win every header against him.

‘It depends on their service and it’s important for us to close him down and press high.

‘It’s also important for us to keep the ball and be better on the ball.

‘That showed on Sunday. We weren’t as good in the first half but improved in the second half.

‘It’s important you don’t do that to Wycombe because he’ll get himself into positions and hurt us.’