Sunderland Defend Slender Lead at Portsmouth
15 May 2019, 12:16
Sunderland Defend Slender Lead at Portsmouth

The League One playoff semi-final second legs take place this week and there are some huge football clubs involved. Two of which meet on Thursday when Portsmouth host Sunderland at Fratton Park.

This is a massive game for both teams as they aim to make the League One Playoff final and earn a place in the Championship for next season.  The slide to League One has been alarming for both clubs but this presents an opportunity to be on the up and the pressure will be immense.

Portsmouth are the home team for this second leg but they suffered a 1-0 loss in the first leg away from home. Away goals do not count should the tie end level but they have to overturn a 1 goal deficit to have any chance.

Portsmouth’s form is not great coming into this match and they have failed to win any of their previous four games. There have been two draws and two defeats, with one of the draws coming at Sunderland but one of the defeats at home.

The lack of wins towards the end of the campaign cost Portsmouth an automatic promotion place and they will be clinging on to their overall good home form to get them to Wembley. Trends show Portsmouth are unbeaten in twenty of their last twenty-four home games in League One and have won four of the last six, suffering just one defeat in the last nine.

Sunderland travel south having picked up what could be a crucial 1-0 lead from the first leg at home. It was their first win in five games and something they desperately needed before the away leg of this tie.

Much like their opponents, poor end of season form cost Sunderland a chance at automatic promotion and they suffered two draws and two defeats at the end of their League One campaign.

However, they have lost only four of their last thirty-nine league games and have scored at least one goal in each of the last eleven. Recent away form shows one draw and two defeats and Sunderland need to get back to their form from earlier in the season.

This match ended 3-1 to Portsmouth during the regular League One season.

Looking ahead to the team news and Portsmouth are unlikely to make many changes from the first leg. Oliver Hawkins will lead the line with support from Gareth Evans and Jamal Lowe.

Sunderland had a man sent off in the first leg but the FA have overturned the red card so defender Alim Ozturk will be available. Chris Maguire came off the bench to score in the first leg and will hope to start.

Portsmouth will begin this match as the favourites and Sunderland’s away form has not been great recently. However, the Black Cats should score a goal and that could see the match go into extra time and possibly penalties.