Lee Brown: Portsmouth are no Wembley underdogs against Sunderland
Lee Brown surveyed Pompey’s trip to Wembley and insisted: We’re no underdogs.
Kenny Jackett’s troops meet Sunderland tomorrow in the final of the Checkatrade Trophy (2.30pm).
The highly-anticipated clash will be played out in front of more than 80,000 fans inside the national stadium, while it will be broadcast live across the globe.
Just one place separates the promotion rivals in League One. Pompey sit third, with Jack Ross' side a point behind with two games in hand.
But the Black Cats’ squad – which boasts players with Premier League, Champions League and international experience – means neutrals tuning in will likely predict the silverware to head to the Stadium of Light.
The likes of Aidan McGeady, Lee Cattermole and Grant Leadbitter are well-recognised names.
However, the Blues defeated Sunderland 3-1 when they met at Fratton Park in December.
Brown is adamant there’s not much difference in quality between both sides.
And the left-back reckons fine margins will determine which club hoists the silverware aloft in front of the Royal Box.
Brown said: ‘I don’t think we are underdogs at all.
‘I think that we stack up evenly against them.
‘There is no real underdog at Wembley and anyone can be a winner.
‘They have got a fantastic squad, come down from the Championship and kept some good players.
‘But we have got some good players as well. It’s building up to be a fantastic match.
‘You could say for their budget Sunderland have underachieved.
‘But it is a difficult league and games are not easily won, as we found over the course of January and February.
‘Every team can give you a game on their day.
‘Sunderland are a good side and up there in the league. If they win their games in hand they can go second.
‘They’re up there for a reason, similar to us, and it should be a good contest.
‘Before the sending off (in December) it was an even contest and I don’t imagine it to be any different at Wembley.
‘It will be fine lines which divide the two teams.
‘We’ve got to make sure we’re right on it and come out on top.’
The chief aim for Pompey this season is clinching promotion from League One.
The Blues sit four points outside the automatic places with seven games remaining.
But Brown stressed Jackett’s troops are temporarily forgetting about the league, with their only focus on Sunderland.
He added: ‘We’re solely focused on Sunday and we want to win.
‘What happens after that, we can could say “This could happen or that could happen” and come up with so many scenarios.
‘But we’re desperate to win on Sunday in front of 80,000-plus and what happens after that we’ll take care of.’