Portsmouth midfielder Tom Naylor insists that Sunderland do not have any advantage heading into the Checkatrade Trophy final at Wembley this weekend, per portsmouth.co.uk.
The two sides face off this weekend, with the Black Cats currently a point behind Pompey in the League One standings, though they do have two games in hand.
Sunderland defender Luke O’Nien made the assertion last week that the club’s big-game experience could prove critical in the final.
Speaking to Chronicle Live, via portsmouth.co.uk, he said: “Having that experience has put us in a good position in the league, and having that to our advantage – I think a few of the boys have played there (at Wembley) – that can only benefit us.”
Naylor, though, has hit back at that suggestion and insists that the experience of playing in front of a packed Fratton Park will stand them in good stead too.
“Everyone has got their own opinions and none of our players think that way,” said Naylor.
“We play in front of 18,000 every week. Sometimes we don’t even notice it because we concentrate that much on football that they’re there.
“It’s one of them quotes where he (O’Nien) is trying to get in the players’ heads.
“Once we get over that line, all the quotes will go out the window and we want to win.”
Naylor is right to call out O’Nien’s mind games.
There is precious little separating the two sides in the league table and they are both locked in the battle to win promotion to the Championship.
Wembley will play host to a fantastic occasion and what is likely to be an excellent game; what the two men have said will have precious little bearing on the final result.
Indeed, the last time the sides went head-to-head, Portsmouth ran out 3-1 winners.
One would argue that experience matters more than a previous trip to Wembley.