Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley has claimed tomorrow’s clash against league leaders Sunderland is “probably the perfect game” for his side because the pressure of expectation is on the Black Cats.
Pompey welcome the North East club to Fratton Park on Saturday searching for their first win since the 17th of August.
Sunderland, meanwhile, put five past Cheltenham Town in midweek to regain their place at the top of League One and will head down to the South Coast full of confidence.
Despite being on the road, Lee Johnson’s side are the clear favourites but Cowley has suggested that could play into Pompey’s hands and makes tomorrow’s game ideal for them.
He told Hampshire Live: “I think it is a great game for us. I think it is probably the perfect game for us because I suppose everyone will have Sunderland as the favourites in the moment that they are in compared to the moment we are.
“To be back in Fratton Park will be a great opportunity for us to put the recent disappointments behind us.”
The two clubs have been League One heavyweights for a little while now and have played each other nine times since 2018 – with Pompey winning four, Sunderland winning three, and two being drawn.
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You can see where Cowley is coming from here.
Given the form of the two sides, getting anything from the game will seem like a positive for Portsmouth and that may just mean that the pressure is off the home side a little.
If they can upset the Black Cats it would be a massive boost for the squad’s confidence and just the sort of victory that could kick-start their season.
That’s a massive if, however, given how impressive Johnson’ side were in midweek and how poor Pompey were in their 2-1 defeat against Burton Albion.
A heavy defeat tomorrow could see the pressure mount further on Cowley after a difficult start to the 2021/22 campaign.