Portsmouth and Salford City finally get their day out at Wembley Stadium this Saturday as the two sides go head to head in order to contest the rearranged 2020 EFL Trophy Final, with Football League World’s Chris Thorpe set to be in attendance.
Both sides travel to the capital in relatively poor form in their respective leagues with Pompey and the Ammies having both won just one of their last six heading into their long-awaited final.
The two teams have never met in a competitive fixture before, however both have experience of playing in the national stadium over the past few years, with Portsmouth’s most recent visit coming back in 2019 as they won this very competition, whilst Salford also tasted success under the famous arch back in the same year as they sealed promotion to the Football League.
Kenny Jackett will be not be taking Saturday’s game against the League Two side lightly however, with the Pompey boss stating the following to the News:
“We won’t be rotating the side for this game, we will be trying to see if we can build up a rhythm.
“We want to try to turn things around as quickly as we can and Saturday is another important game for us. We will be at full strength.”
Meanwhile Ammies boss Richie Wellens has stated that this game is a distraction for his players from their league commitments but did also emphasise the importance of treating the game in the right manner during an interview with BBC Sport:
“The league is the priority. If anything, this game is a distraction.
“There are no supporters there. I’ve played at Wembley in front of 80,000 so it’s not going to do anything for me. It’s a bit of a hindrance but, for the players, it will be a huge honour and we’ll treat it very seriously.”
As mentioned by Jackett, Pompey fully intend to play their strongest side against the club from the division below, meaning that the South Coast club are unlikely to make too many changes for the final.
However the former Millwall boss could be forced into making a change in midfield with Andy Cannon having picked up a hamstring injury earlier in the week in the home defeat to Sunderland, meaning that Harvey White could move across from the flank in order to partner Tom Naylor in the engine room.
Meanwhile Callum Johnson is also unlikely to feature after picking up a calf injury, which means James Bolton should keep his place at right back.
For Salford, Wellens is also expected to keep a majority of the side which lost out to Crawley Town in the league last time out in his starting line up as the ambitious club seeks to taste success in London once more.
However the Northern-based club will be forced into some changes as they will have five players unavailable for the match, with loanees Di’Shon Bernard, Robbie Gotts, Paul Coutts, Tom James and George Boyd all ineligible because they are cup-tied.
The Ammies have largely switched between their preferred 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-2-1 formations this term and it is expected that they will pluck for the latter as it has been their most frequent and arguably most successful system of late.
Portsmouth possible starting lineup (4-4-2):
Salford City possible starting lineup (3-4-2-1):
Portsmouth will be aiming to become the first side in the competition’s history to win the trophy in consecutive seasons as Jackett bids to win it for the third time in his career as a manager.
The South Coast club has tasted success at this very venue on several occasions in the past, including winning the FA Cup against Cardiff City as recently as 2008.
Salford last visited Wembley two years ago as the Ammies saw off AFC Fylde to clinch promotion to the EFL for the first time in their history with Emmanuel Dieseruvwe, Carl Piergianni and Ibou Touray scoring the goals in a comprehensive 3-0 victory.
Formed back in 1940, the Peninsula Stadium outfit will be bidding to win this competition for the first time in their history against the current holders.
How to watch the final?
Coverage begins at 2.30pm on Sky Sports Football ahead of the 3pm kick-off and will conclude at 5.30pm.
The match can be viewed with either a Sky Sports subscription or a NowTV pass.