Thursday 16 May: 7.45pm KO
Live on Sky Sports
Portsmouth finished a place and three points above Sunderland in the final League One table but their promotion dreams could end on Thursday evening. They host Sunderland at Fratton Park having lost the away first leg 1-0.
Portsmouth finished just three points behind the automatic promotion places in League One but have to win this game to stand any chance of promotion to the Championship. They only managed to earn two points from their final three league games and that was despite their last two matches being at home. The odds on Pompey winning promotion this season are out to 7/2 (4.5) at William Hill.
Despite finishing fourth in the table, it’s been a bit of an inconsistent season for the south coast club. They didn’t lose their first league game until October and their second defeat took place a fortnight before Christmas. Then followed a terrible run in January and February that saw them earn just five points (all draws) from eight games.
March and April saw them win seven league games in a row to revitalize their promotion campaign and then they mucked up the last four league games. They really should have comfortably earned automatic promotion this season. You can get 15/8 (2.87) at Betfred on Portsmouth making it to the final.
Home form has seen Portsmouth lose only one of their last nine home league games but just four have been won. It’s 5/4 (2.25) at William Hill that they can beat Sunderland on Thursday night.
Sunderland are trying to win promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt. They would have imagined that losing just five out of 46 league games would have been a solid platform with which to finish in the top two. However, they finished fifth in the table, six points behind second-placed Barnsley. 19 draws proved a costly amount and Betfred will give you odds of 23/10 (3.3) that this second leg ends level. A result of course that would see Sunderland reach the play-off final.
They ended the season in poor form with just one victory from their final seven league games. Successive away defeats at Fleetwood Town and relegation-threatened Southend United were not the end to the main season that they wanted. Will it end with promotion? The odds on them winning the play-offs are 7/4 (1.75) at William Hill.
At least they returned to form with a 1-0 home win in the first leg of this semi-final. Betfred will give you 12/5 (3.4) on them winning at Fratton Park on Thursday. They are strongly fancied to get past Portsmouth and William Hill have odds of 2/5 (1.4) on them reaching Wembley for a showdown with either Charlton Athletic or Doncaster Rovers. Away form saw only two wins from their last seven away league matches but just a draw would be good enough in this game.
The two teams have already met four times this season. Two games have been drawn and one each won by Portsmouth and Sunderland, both on home soil. Both draws saw each side get on the score sheet and the odds of a draw with both teams scoring are 16/5 (4.4) at William Hill.
Alim Ozturk will be able to play for Sunderland in this game. The red card he received in the first leg has been rescinded.
Sunderland drew 19 of their league games and a 1-1 score line happened on 15 occasions. Pompey had eight 1-1 draws in their league campaign and Betfred have odds of 5/1 (6.0) on that being the score in this game.
Portsmouth have spent much of the season in the top two but in the end had to settle for a play-off place. They have alread beaten Sunderland in the EFL Cup final and at home in the league. Their current form is a worry though and a double chance bet on Sunderland to win or draw this game has odds of 8/13 (1.61) at William Hill.