Verdict: Big pressure on Sunderland in heat of Portsmouth play-off showdown

The pressure on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light could be a ‘huge’ factor in tomorrow’s play-off showdown.

By Jordan Cross
Friday, 10th May 2019, 4:53 pm
Sunderland fans at the Stadium of Light. Picture by FRANK REID
Sunderland fans at the Stadium of Light. Picture by FRANK REID

That’s the verdict of Pompey writer Jordan Cross as the Blues prepare lock horns with Jack Ross’ side.

The heat will be ramped up as the action gets underway on the Black Cats’ patch, with the sides battling for a place in the Championship.

The home side go into the game with one win in four on their own patch in a season where they were big favourites to win the league.  

Sunderland fans at the Stadium of Light. Picture by FRANK REID

And Cross believes that could be a factor in the favour of Kenny Jackett’s side as they face Sunderland on their own patch.

Speaking in the latest edition of Pompey Talk, Cross said: ‘You’d have to look at that as something Pompey can play on.

‘Of course Sunderland is a great club with a great fan base and great support.

‘They’ve had back-to-back relegations and they aren’t a League One side, so their fans will probably be disappointed with a fifth-placed finish.

‘I also remember their owner saying they’d got the wage bill down to £11m last year.

‘Okay, (Josh) Maja went for big money but (Will) Grigg has come in for big money.

‘They may have been getting it down, but £11m is huge by League One standards and two or three times Pompey’s (playing budget).

‘So there’s big pressure on Pompey, no doubt about it because the play-offs brings pressure, but bigger pressure on Sunderland.

‘Pompey have to use every tool to their advantage and that could be a huge one.’