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Fixture News

Jackett: Seize The Opportunity

Boss looks ahead to first leg of play-off contest

9 May 2019

Kenny Jackett
Photo: Joe Pepler/PinPep

Pompey missed out on the preferred route of automatic promotion to the Championship.

But Kenny Jackett knows his side still have an excellent chance to bring second tier football to Fratton Park.

They travel north this weekend to face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in the first leg of the play-off semi-final.

And while Jackett knows nothing will be decided after one game, he wants his side to make the most of the occasion.

The Blues boss said: “It’s a chance to get into the Championship – and that’s a big prize for whoever emerges successful from the four sides.

“We’re pleased to be in there with a shot and every player here knows we have to attack what’s ahead of us.

"You can only say what a good result is after 180 minutes, but of course you want to be in a good position after the first game."

Kenny Jackett

“We pushed the top two, but the reality is we hadn’t been in those spaces for a few months – we were always chasing Luton and Barnsley in the latter half of the season.

“Getting over that disappointment and trying to seize the opportunity is something I’ve been stressing this week.

“It turns now from a league campaign into a cup competition and it’s something that does feel different.

“You can only say what a good result is after 180 minutes, but of course you want to be in a good position after the first game.”

Pompey and Sunderland have already faced off three times this term, with two league meetings and a Wembley clash in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Jackett said: “Teams aren’t short on information about each other at this stage of the season, although that’s not something I’m really concerned about.

“You need to make sure your own team are at their best – mentally, physically and tactically. You have to be prepared.

“Whoever does that better will win and it’s not really important who knows the most about the opposition.

“We’ve got a lot of respect for Sunderland, who are a big club. It’s an exciting tie and everyone’s enthusiastic about what’s ahead.

“We really appreciate all the fans who are making the long trip up there and want to put on a performance for them.”

Jackett is close to having a fully-fit squad to select from for Saturday’s contest, which kicks-off at 7.30pm.

He said: “Everybody’s fit and available, barring Donohue and Whatmough. We’ve had a free week and they’re all looking bright and full of energy in training.”


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