Sunderland’s Charlie Wyke out for play-off revenge against Portsmouth
Charlie Wyke is out for revenge as Sunderland prepare to renew their rivalry with Pompey in the League One play-offs.
The two teams go head-to-head yet again as they bid to clinch the last remaining promotion spot to the Championship.
The Black Cats’ Stadium of Light will play host to the first leg on Saturday (7.30pm), before Fratton Park will stage the second leg on Thursday, March 16 (7.45pm).
The clashes will represent the fourth and fifth instalment of an intriguing power struggle between the division’s two heavyweights, of which the Blues hold the upper hand.
Kenny Jackett’s side have yet to be beaten by the Wearsiders, with March’s Checkatrade Trophy final success on penalties nestled between a 3-1 win on the south coast and a 1-1 draw at Sunderland.
The latter, just over a week ago, more or less prevented Jack Ross’ side from clinching automatic promotion – despite the hosts enjoying the greater share of play.
And it’s factors like that which make Wyke, who himself found Pompey keeper Craig MacGillivray in inspired form last time out, determined to finally get one over the Blues.
The striker told the Northern Echo: ‘We know what they’re about.
‘We’ll do our analysis and see where we can hurt them. We’ve played them a few times this season and haven’t beaten them, but I think it's time to put that right now and get a bit of revenge.
‘We didn't put our chances away on the day (in their last league meeting), but we know we can create them and we've just got to take then when they come.’
Sunderland go into the two-legged semi-final with just one win from their past seven games.
The Blues have gone three games without a win.
But Wyke is confident he and his team-mates can address their recent slump in form.
He added: ‘We’re really disappointed, but we’ve got to dust ourselves down and look ahead to the game on Saturday now.
‘We know what we’ve got to do now, we’ve got to win three games and that’s all we can focus on.
‘It hasn’t quite happened for us this week. We’ve been really disappointed with the results and the performances, so we’ve got to address it.’
Charlton and Doncaster Rovers compete in the other play-off semi-final.