Kevin Phillips has claimed Sunderland are in “a very strong position” to gain promotion after the “huge” win over Portsmouth.

The Stadium of Light legend, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, revealed he is now “excited” and “hopeful” about his former club climbing out of League One.

Lee Johnson’s side won 2-0 at Fratton Park on Tuesday night and they are now just two points off of the automatic promotion spots.

It was the first time since November 1997 that the Black Cats have won away at Portsmouth, and they are now eight games unbeaten in all competitions.

Phillips heaped praise on Sunderland‘s defence after the ‘huge’ win.

“I’m excited and hopeful about promotion now,” he told Football Insider.

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“I was at the game against Swindon and they played some very good stuff.

“They are starting to see games out and win ugly. They are defending well as a unit at the moment and that is so encouraging going into the business end of the season.

“I’m not getting too carried away because things can quickly change but they are in a very good position.

“Lee Johnson has a settled team and he is picking from the same core of players every week which I think is right.

“Dare I get excited? I am a little bit because they are not a million miles away.

“They still have a huge job to do but Portsmouth was a tough game and they came through it. They are now in a very strong position.”

In other news, Phillips reveals the details of talks with new Sunderland owner Louis-Dreyfus and what he ‘couldn’t believe’.