Portsmouth vs Sunderland preview: League One play-off clash live on Sky Sports Football
Watch Portsmouth vs Sunderland live on Sky Sports Football from 7.30pm on Thursday; Kick-off is at 7.45pm
Last Updated: 17/05/19 8:02am
Portsmouth face Sunderland for the fifth time this season on Thursday night, battling to become the first team to confirm their place in the League One play-off final.
Chris Maguire handed Jack Ross' side a 1-0 advantage in the first leg, his fine volley just after the hour mark enough for victory at the Stadium of Light. The Black Cats ended the game with 10 men, following Alim Ozturk's dismissal for a foul on Gareth Evans, though that has since been rescinded.
These two sides met in March's Checkatrade Trophy final but only one will be heading to Wembley once more on May 26. Who will it be?
Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett will give full-back Lee Brown and striker Brett Pitman every chance to prove their fitness after respective Achilles and hamstring injuries.
Jackett otherwise has a more or less full squad from which to choose with only defender Jack Whatmough and midfielder Dion Donohue missing.
Ozturk is available but Sunderland manager Jack Ross has a series of decisions to make.
Winger Aiden McGeady continues to be assessed on a daily basis as he attempts to play with a broken bone in his foot which forced him to withdraw for the first leg during the warm-up despite undergoing pain-killing injections.
However, winger Duncan Watmore could be included for the first time since he damaged ankle ligaments in March after making a quicker than expected recovery.
Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett: "We're 1-0 down at half-time, with the second leg to come at Fratton Park - I certainly don't think that's a disaster. It's still evenly balanced and we have to make our home advantage count on Thursday evening. We are capable of that.
"I felt we were the stronger side in the first half and just couldn't get the shots off or threaten in the wide areas. Our delivery into the box wasn't right and we came out of good areas and then went back into midfield.
"We looked pretty solid for the away side, although Sunderland did have a 15-minute period when they were on top. Maguire scored a terrific goal, which left our goalkeeper with no chance and then we again couldn't find those shots when it was 11 against 10.
"Our two best efforts were both from Gareth Evans and he hit the bar with one of them from a free kick."
Sunderland boss Jack Ross: "All the games against them this season have been [tight]. The first half was very tame and a little tense and flat. The second half was a little bit more like us and the game had a bit more about it then.
"I would expect the minimum of the 90 minutes on Thursday to be the same because our lead will dictate that and I think the second legs of these games usually act like that as well.
"The lads are in a good place. Once we overcame a passive sense, we were good on Saturday. The lads are desperate for the game to come around and I'm confident they can deal with the atmosphere.
"We'll go there to win the game because winning it gets us to Wembley. I don't think as a team we need to go there and defend."
Portsmouth are unbeaten in seven home matches against Sunderland (W5 D2 L0) since losing 1-4 in a second-tier meeting in November 1997.
Sunderland ended the League One season with two away defeats - they have lost just two of their previous 25 away games in all competitions this season (W13 D10 L2).
Portsmouth have never won a play-off match in five attempts (W0 D2 L3), with both of their home games ending 2-2 - against Leicester in 1992-93 and Plymouth in 2015-16.
The last League One side to overturn a first-leg play-off deficit and reach the final were Yeovil in 2012-13 against Sheffield United.
Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett has never lost a home play-off match (P3 W2 D1 L0) - should Pompey go through to the final, it would be Jackett's fourth play-off final as a manager, with only Neil Warnock reaching more (5).
Sunderland have won 13 away games in all competitions this season - they haven't won more than 13 in a season since 1998-99 under Peter Reid (15 wins).
Including play-offs, Sunderland have received eight red cards in League One this season, the joint-highest tally along with Fleetwood.
Chris Maguire has found the net in his last two League One games; including play-off matches, Maguire hasn't scored in three consecutive Football League games since January 2014 for Sheffield Wednesday.
Another tough one. It was a great goal in the first leg by Chris Maguire, but Pompey, we saw them in the Checkatrade Trophy against Sunderland, and I thought they were very good. Sunderland were better in the first half, but after that, Pompey dominated.
It feels like another close game, I'll go for a Pompey win, though, in front of a packed out crowd at Fratton Park. As good as Sunderland have been, and they'll be under pressure to go up, I think Pompey will just have the momentum to see them over the line.
David Prutton predicts: 2-0 - Portsmouth to progress 2-1 on aggregate (17/2 with Sky Bet)