Sky Sports pundit David Prutton has predicted that Sunderland will obtain their first league victory of the season when Portsmouth arrive at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Prutton believes the Black Cats will edge to a 2-1 victory against Kenny Jackett’s side, despite the fact the north-east club have drawn their two league matches so far this season.
Jack Ross’ men followed up their opening day 1-1 draw against Burton Albion with the same result when they travelled to face Ipswich Town last weekend, but Prutton believes it will be different against Portsmouth.
Pompey lost their only other away match this season against Shrewsbury on the opening day of the season, but they then beat Birmingham City 3-0 in the Carabao Cup before success against Tranmere Rovers last weekend.
This fixture sees a repeat of the play-off semi-final clash between the two sides last season which Sunderland won, but they ultimately fell at the final hurdle as Charlton pipped them to promotion at Wembley.
Prutton now thinks the Black Cats will repeat this success in the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday:
“You would have fancied at least one of these sides to win promotion last season! Both had a great shot at automatic at one stage, but eventually both fell in the play-offs,” he told Sky Sports.
“Sunderland got the better of Portsmouth over two legs in the semi-finals, but Pompey have the bragging rights of that Checkatrade Trophy win at Wembley. This is tough to call, but I reckon the Black Cats will edge it.”
I think this is a tough one to call as both sides will not be entirely pleased with their starts to the season after failing to achieve promotion last term.
Portsmouth seem to excel when they are on home soil but the fact they lost to Shrewsbury on the opening day does not bode well, and the memories of their play-off defeat to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light may also be fresh in the mind.
If Sunderland are to get a result as Prutton predicts, I think Ross will need to name an attacking line-up featuring the likes of Aiden McGeady and Chris Maguire to ensure they go all out at Portsmouth from the start.
With a positive game plan such as this, I think Sunderland will indeed come out on top on Saturday. However, Pompey do have plenty of quality in their side and I’m not sure we can write them off entirely.