Writer: Gaz Johnson
Date:Monday February 8 2010
Sunderland face Portsmouth in this massive game for both clubs. Pompey face an uphill struggle with money problems and recently losing 5-0 to Manchester United.
Sunderland have went 11 league games without a win and this has been mainly to injuries and suspensions. Now, they have no excuse as we field our strongest team against Pompey at Fratton Park.
With Kenwyne Jones in a run of form in his last two games we need him and Bent to finish this game off as early as possible.
It could be disastrous if Steve Bruce loses this game, like we did in the FA Cup, but I fully expect Sunderland to play well on Tuesday evening.
Steve Bruce talks about our awful form: 'When you come through it, it makes you better because you learn from it.
'Nobody likes it, nobody enjoys it, you would be lying if you said you enjoyed it. But certainly you learn from it and you take it on with you.
'I have worked hard all my life and I will try to work as hard as I can to pull us around.
'I am the same one who came in six months ago, nothing has changed in that respect.
'There's no hiding place from it, we have just got to get a result, it's as simple as that.'
Pompey could be without Kevin Prince Boateng and Anthony Vanden Borre after picking up knocks in their last defeat.
Steve Finnan could replace Borre but Papa Diop is still ruled out.
After knocking us out of the FA Cup only a few weeks ago, Sunderland need to be careful around this striker. He can change a game with one movement and as long as we can defend a lot better we should be able to stop him from scoring again.
Sunderland will be without Jordan Henderson, Kieran Richardson, Anton Ferdinand and John Mensah.
After Stoke and Wigan, Jones has been by far our best player and we need him to continue scoring goals if we want to avoid relegation. He won every header on Saturday and also grabbed the equaliser with a neat finish. If he can click with Bent we should have the firepower to beat Portsmouth away.
Sunderland are winless in their last 11 league matches (D5, L6). Their only victory in 15 attempts was 1-0 at home to Arsenal on 21 November.
Pompey's tally of 19 goals is the lowest in the division.
Referee: Kevin Friend Assistant referees: Nick Kinseley & Mark Scholes Fourth official: Andy D'Urso
Pompey 0 - 1 Sunderland We just have to win this game, failure could result in a relegation scrap until May.
Sunderland face a tougher trip to Arsenal away in 2 weeks time.
Date:Monday February 8 2010
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