Accrington Stanley vs Portsmouth Preview
By Jim Bonner
Updated Monday, 7th March 2016
Pompey face another pivotal game in their season.
Pompey play their final game in hand at Accrington tomorrow evening knowing that victory will take them above their opponents in the league and within striking distance of the automatic promotion places.
Paul Cook may name an unchanged side from the team that won at Stevenage on Saturday but Michael Smith and Conor Chaplin could start to keep the team fresh.
Rommy Boco won't play against his former club due to a gentleman's agreement whilst Josh Windass is likely to miss the game with a hernia injury. Goalkeeper Ross Etheridge is currently unavailable for Stanley after being sent off at Wimbledon but the red card may be overturned on appeal.
Saturday's win at Stevenage was Pompey's first away from Fratton Park since December and a deserved one it was, too. However, Boro are a poor side and winning at the Crown Ground will be a much tougher task given that Stanley haven't tasted defeat there since October when AFC Wimbledon won in Lancashire.
The Dons were Accrington's opponents last weekend and it was a game that John Coleman's side should have won if not for a typically inept piece of refereeing from Trevor Kettle who blew for half-time immediately before Billy Kee's shot hit the back of the net.
That decision meant the game ended goalless and Accrington's winless run extended to three but they are capable of some excellent football and are fully deserving of their current fourth position in the league, even if Pompey never saw the best of them in their two games at Fratton Park this season.
It's expected Cook won't make any changes after such an important away win and performance to go with it. The 4-2-3-1 formation returned to great effect and even players like Gary Roberts and Kyle Bennett, who created the goals on Saturday, proved how hard they were willing to work.
It'll be interesting to see how Kal Naismith plays if he makes an appearance against his former club tomorrow. Having been written off not so long ago, he is finally starting to show us what he is capable of and scored his first Pompey goal at the weekend. Hopefully he can bag another tomorrow.
Winning at the Crown Ground would be a huge moment in Pompey's season. They would leap Accrington into fourth (although Stanley still have a game in hand on Pompey) and would find themselves just six points behind Oxford and Plymouth with the latter still to visit Fratton Park.
Defeat, however, and Pompey fans can forget all about getting promoted the easy way.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Ross ETHERIDGE
RB: Brad HALLIDAY
CB: Tom DAVIES
CB: Liam WAKEFIELD
LB: Matty PEARSON
RM: Piero MINGOIA
CM: Matt CROOKS
CM: Seamus CONNEELY
LM: Sean McCONVILLE
CF: Shay McCARTAN
CF: Billy KEE
GK: Ryan FULTON
RB: Ben DAVIES
CB: Christian BURGESS
CB: Adam WEBSTER
LB: Enda STEVENS
DM: Michael DOYLE
DM: Danny HOLLANDS
RM: Gareth EVANS
AM: Gary ROBERTS
LM: Kyle BENNETT
CF: Marc McNULTY
Last Time: Accrington Stanley 1 Portsmouth 1 (League Two - 07/03/2016)
A year ago today saw Pompey's faint promotion hopes effectively end as they were held to a draw against the ten men of Accrington. Josh Windass broke the deadlock with a free kick early on but Ryan Taylor's header levelled the score. Anthony Barry was dismissed for a nasty challenge on Danny Hollands but Pompey failed to make their numerical advantage count.
This is a tough game and in any normal circumstances a draw would be an acceptable result. A win is required but Stanley are a tough nut to crack and this one will most likely end up all square - a result that only benefits Oxford and Plymouth.
Accrington Stanley 1 Portsmouth 1
|07 Mar 2016|
|The Opposition View: Accrington Stanley|
|01 Mar 2016|
|Pompey Blow It Again|
|29 Feb 2016|
|Exeter vs Portsmouth Preview|
|The Opposition View: Exeter City|
|28 Feb 2016|
|Back To Winning Ways|
|26 Feb 2016|
|Portsmouth vs Cambridge United Preview|
|25 Feb 2016|
|The Opposition View: Cambridge United|