Sunderland will have to overcome a Crown Ground surface that has been labelled ‘very poor’ and ‘a shambles’ if they’re to leapfrog Pompey tonight.
The Black Cats travel to Accrington Stanley in League One following their Checkatrade Trophy final loss to the Blues on Sunday.
It’s the first of two games in hand they have on Kenny Jackett’s side in the race for automatic promotion.
If Jack Ross’ men avoid defeat they’ll move above Pompey into third spot.
By Accrington chairman Andy Holt’s own admission, though, the pitch at the Crown Ground looks ‘very poor.’
Fleetwood boss Joey Barton also called it a ‘shambles’ after his side’s 1-0 win at Stanley on Saturday.
Ross reckons the surface hasn’t fully recovered since Sunderland’s trip to Accrington was abandoned because of a waterlogged pitch in December.
The score was 1-1 with less than 20 minutes remaining.
And the manager admits his troops are going to have to adjust their style of football fit they’re to win the clash.
Ross told the Sunderland Echo: ‘I watched the Accrington game at Fleetwood and it looks as if the surface probably hasn’t really recovered from that day we played there.
‘That’s not a criticism, I think we knew that after the game.
‘We will have to adjust in terms of how we play, that’s very obvious.
‘We’ll have to adjust our selection anyway in terms of the knocks but also in terms of finding the way to win the game, it will be a tricky surface.’
Sunderland were held to a 2-2 draw against Accrington at the Stadium of Light in February.