Portsmouth v Sunderland: early team news, predicted XIs, referee, form guides and key stats
Pompey face Sunderland tonight with the aim of keeping their promotion hopes alive.
Those ambitions have taken a bit of a beating in recent weeks to add to the pressure ahead of tonight’s key battle.
Anything less than a win could see the sixth-placed Blues drop out of the play-off places.
Meanwhile, victory for the hosts will add to the momentum currently being built at the Stadium of Light under manager Lee Johnson, which would be another blow for the hosts.
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett would certainly love this side to replicate the form the Black Cats are in, with tonight’s visitors unbeaten in six games following five wins and a draw.
As it is, the Blues have just one win from their past six games and are staring at a third defeat in a row if they are unable to overcome their current troubles.
Here’s all you need to know ahead of tonight’s game (7.45pm).
Pompey team news
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett is expected to make changes to the side that lost so disappointingly at the hands of Northampton on Saturday.
And his task will be made much easier with news that James Bolton and Michael Jacobs will both be fit to face Sunderland following spells on the sidelines.
Bolton is expected to return to the starting XI to help sort out the Blues’ current right-back problem, with regular full-back Callum Johnson still out with a groin strain.
Jacobs will be in contention to start, despite his lack of football in recent weeks, but might have to make do with a place on the bench as Pompey continue to ease him back into action.
Along with Bolton, Charlie Daniels, Harvey White, Ryan Williams and Jordy Hiwula could all start.
Missing out could be Rasmus Nicolaisen, Lee Brown, Ronan Curtis, George Byers and Marcus Harness.
Predicted starting XI
Craig MacGillivray, James Bolton, Jack Whatmough, Sean Raggett, Charlie Daniels, Marcus Harness, Andy Cannon, Lee Naylor, Harvey White, John Marquis, Ryan Williams. Subs: Lewis Ward, Lee Brown, Rasmus Nicolaisen, Ronan Curtis, Michael Jacobs, Ellis Harrison, Jordy Hiwula.
Sunderland team news
The Black Cats are again set to name a patched-up defence with several of their senior players sidelined.
Jordan Willis is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, Bailey Wright remains absent with a calf problem and Tom Flanagan is suffering a similar issue.
That means the versatile Luke O'Nien will continue in central defence alongside former Pompey-linked defender Dion Sanderson.
Striker Ross Stewart is still to make his Sunderland debut after sustaining a hamstring problem shortly after his January arrival from Ross County.
Left-back Denver Hulme is back training but unlikely to travel to the south coast.
Meanwhile, Lynden Gooch (calf) could return to the squad after failing a late fitness test before the Wearsiders' 2-0 win over Rochdale on Saturday.
Conor McLaughlin is also a possibility after he responded well to an injection following hernia surgery.
Grant Leadbitter (dislocated shoulder) will also be desperate to be involved after missing the past two games.
Lee Burge, Ollie Younger, Luke O'Nien, Dion Sanderson, Callum MacFazdean, Jordan Jones, Max Power, Carl Winchester, Aiden McGeady, Charlie Wyke, Aiden O'Brien. Subs: Remi Matthews, Conor McLaughlin, Josh Scowen, Jack Diamond, Daniel Neil, Grant Leadbitter, Lynden Gooch.
Match-day odds (bet365)
1-0 7/1, 2-0 12/1, 2-1 9/1, 3-0 25/1, 3-1 22/1, 3-2 33/1
1-0 7/1, 2-0 11/1, 2-1 9/1, 3-0 25/1, 3-1 20/1, 3-2 33/1
0-0 15/2, 1-1 5/1, 2-2 14/1, 3-3 50/1
First goalscorer: Charlie Wyke and John Marquis (both 9/2), Ellis Harrison (6/1)
League position: 6th
Top scorer: John Marquis (15)
Top assists: Marcus Harness (9)
Most appearances: John Marquis (39)
League position: 4th
Top scorer: Charlie Wyke (25)
Top assists: Aiden McGeady (11)
Most appearances: Charlie Wyke (38)
Form guide (all competitions)
Pompey: P42 W21 D7 L14
Past five games
L 4-1 Northampton (A) – League One
L 2-1 Doncaster Rovers (A) – League One
D 1-1 Gillingham (H) – League One
W 1-0 Oxford United (A) – League One
L 1-0 Blackpool (H) – League One
Sunderland: P41 W20 D14 L7
Past five games
W 2-0 Rochdale (H) – League One
W 1-0 Swindon (H) – League One
D 2-2 Crewe (A) – League One
W 2-0 Fleetwood (H) – League One
W 3-0 Burton (A) – League One
Other fixtures (7pm kick offs unless stated)
AFC Wimbledon v Burton Albion, Bristol Rovers v Accrington Stanley, Charlton Athletic v Northampton Town, Crewe Alexandra v Doncaster Rovers, Fleetwood Town v Gillingham (7.45pm), Ipswich Town v Lincoln City, MK Dons v Blackpool, Peterborough United v Hull City, Plymouth Argyle v Wigan Athletic, Rochdale v Shrewsbury Town, Swindon Town v Oxford United.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
On Saturday, March 13 Pompey will finally get their day at Wembley.
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