Pressure on Portsmouth line-up at Shrewsbury to keep places for Checkatrade Trophy final against Sunderland

The pressure is on Pompey’s starting XI at Shrewsbury to keep their places for Wembley.

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 4:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st March 2019, 4:36 pm
Pompey celebrate reaching the Checkatrade Trophy final after defeating Bury. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

But Kenny Jackett stressed he’s yet to decide on his team for the Checkatrade Trophy final against Sunderland.

The Blues make their nine-year return to the national stadium on Sunday, March 31 (2.30pm kick off).

Both Pompey and the Blacks Cats have sold out their respective ticket allocations, with more than 80,000 set to be at the game and a crackling atmosphere expected. 

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Pompey celebrate reaching the Checkatrade Trophy final after defeating Bury. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

First the Blues travel to Shrewsbury tomorrow (3pm) in their bid for automatic promotion from League One.

Jackett’s men sit four points behind second-placed Barnsley with eight games remaining.

Reaching the Championship is Pompey’s ultimate aim this season.

But the boss still regards winning the Checkatrade Trophy as important – as do the players.

And Jackett knows his troops will be aware they need to impress at New Meadow to retain their Wembley berth.

He said: ‘There always is pressure.

‘I haven’t necessarily spoke like that to the players but they do know you have to work hard to keep your shirt and it goes game by game.

‘That’s going to be the case, but similarly they can see the bigger picture which is the opportunity in the league.

‘To be fair, that’s more important than a cup competition.

‘They’re both important for us, though, and the most important is whichever game is coming next.

‘That’s the most important one in my mind.

‘But the players will all be aware that they want to keep their shirt and secondly we’ve got to keep chasing in the league.

‘It’s still open for us and our number-one priority.’

Pompey will be without Viv Solomon-Otabor for the Checkatrade Trophy final, after he picked up a calf injury in the 2-0 victory over Scunthorpe last weekend.

Dion Donohue is also a doubt after limping off with a groin problem for the reserves against the Royal Navy on Tuesday.

Despite severing his finger, Ronan Curtis is hoping to be fit and plans to train on Wednesday following the removal of his stitches. 

And Jackett has still to choose his line-up for Wembley.

He added: ‘I always go game by game.

‘I would never pick my side two weeks ahead.

‘If changes need to be made by the time next week comes then they will be.’