Revealed: The Sunderland verdict on Portsmouth as Kenny Jackett comes under pressure

Phil Parkinson is backing Portsmouth to be in the promotion picture come the end of the season – despite an indifferent start to the season.
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Pompey currently find themselves sat eight in the third tier, having already suffered two defeats this term.

Some quarters of the Fratton Park faithful have called for a change in the dugout - with manager Kenny Jackett coming under increasing scrutiny – but Parkinson is confident that Pompey, who travel to the Stadium of Light on Saturday (3pm kick-off), will remain in the promotion race throughout the season.

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"There’s no doubt about it that Portsmouth will be a team who will be up and around the top six,” he said.

Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson delivers his honest verdict on PortsmouthSunderland boss Phil Parkinson delivers his honest verdict on Portsmouth
Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson delivers his honest verdict on Portsmouth

"They’ve had a few indifferent results, obviously they had a good one in midweek against Gillingham, and I think the games against perceived rivals at the top end of the table have got that little bit of added importance.

"If you do get the points, you’re stopping a rival getting anything to add to their tally.”

"They’ve had a couple of defeats, Doncaster and Wigan, and the Wigan one in particular was a little bit of surprise,” he continued.

"But they’ve got good players and a decent squad."

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Sunderland and Portsmouth have been familiar foes since the former’s drop into League One in 2018, meaning they are largely au fait with their respective tactics and personnel.

And that, says Parkinson, means the game will likely be settled on small details.

"Are there many changes from recent years? Not really. We know them and they know us, it’s going to be a tight game and we know that.

"It’ll be separated on detail, I should imagine, but we’re looking forward to it.

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"There’s nothing better than going into another home game on the back of a terrific win on Tuesday night.

"Obviously it would be better if the supporters were in and it would be a real occasion I’m sure this weekend.

"But it’s a great game for us and we’re looking forward to it.”

For the Black Cats, those small margins could come in front of goal – with goals not flowing as freely as they perhaps should be in recent weeks.

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But with his side continuing to create a host of chances, Parkinson is backing the side to sharpen up in and around the area and believes one League One side could be on the end of a rout in the coming weeks.

"We always want to win convincingly, every manager and every team does.

"But the win is the most important factor, and the performance level. We’re dominating games and we’re talking about the clean sheets which are good, but a lot of the reasons for those clean sheets are because we’re in the ascendancy for large parts of the game.

"We’re creating great opportunities, we need to increase our percentage of hitting the target when we get those chances, but equally I feel somewhere along the line we’re going to go and score four or five goals.”

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