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Fixture News

Clarke: Home Advantage Is Key

Defender looks ahead to play-off clash

16 May 2019

Matt Clarke
Photo: Joe Pepler/PinPep

Matt Clarke is expecting things to get tense during the second leg of Pompey’s play-off contest with Sunderland.

The visitors take a one-goal lead – courtesy of a fine Chris Maguire strike on Wearside – into tonight’s game at a packed Fratton Park.

It will be the fifth time the sides have faced off this season, with four of those meetings coming in the past seven weeks.

But with the home sections of the ground having long since sold out, Clarke believes the ground will be rocking.

The defender said: “These games have so much riding on them, so you can understand if the atmosphere gets a bit tense at times.

“But we’re hoping that with the second leg game being at home on Thursday evening, it will work to our advantage.

"These games have so much riding on them, so you can understand if the atmosphere gets a bit tense at times."

Matt Clarke

“I remember when we played Plymouth in the play-offs at Fratton Park a few years ago and there was some atmosphere that night.

“So we’re confident as a squad that we can turn things around and it’s quite clear what we have to do.

“It’s up to us to take the game to Sunderland, doing whatever we can to win the game and go through.

“There wasn’t a lot in the first leg, which was lacking many clear-cut chances, and we know we can go toe-to-toe with them.

“We’re obviously aware that nothing less than a win will do and the next goal in the tie will likely be important.”

Clarke was named Player of the Season ahead of the last home match against Accrington, also picking up a haul of trophies from several supporter groups.

He said: “It’s always nice to pick up individual awards and it means I’m obviously doing something right.

“But the team objective is the most important thing – and that’s to get through this tie and go on to win promotion.”

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