Blackpool vs Portsmouth Preview

Pompey travel to Bloomfield Road to take on managerless Blackpool for their first away match of the season.

Team News

David Wheeler will be expected to make his debut after signing on loan from QPR during the week whilst Nathan Thompson is likely to miss out after sustaining a knee injury during last week's win over Luton.

Blackpool's caretaker manager Terry McPhillips could hand a second debut to defender Donervon Daniels who was signed before deadline day but midfielders Ryan McLaughlin and Jimmy Ryan are doubtful.

The Match

After a fortunate victory over the Hatters last weekend, Kenny Jackett will be hoping for a much improved performance on the Lancashire seaside.

Under what can only be described as a cretinous ownership, Blackpool are once again in crisis after Gary Bowyer resigned after having seen many of his best players leave and the Tangerines now look ripe for relegation.

Pompey fans have been invited to join in protests against the Oystons as they continue to destroy the club they supposedly care about but come 3pm the focus will be very much on taking the three points back down to Portsmouth.

The hosts may have kept a clean sheet during their goalless draw at Wycombe last weekend but that was because of an excellent performance from goalkeeeper Mark Howard and their defence looks even more porous now Clark Robertson has left the club.

That should be music to the ears of Brett Pitman who should start despite being withdrawn at half-time last match as Oli Hawkins did nothing to stake his claim for a starting place whilst the skipper bagged a brace in last season's fixture.

Ben Close also shone in that match and he will be favourite to start alongside Tom Naylor in centre midfield with Anton Walkes returning to right back should Thompson's knee injury keep him out. Close's presence should give the midfield a more balanced look and if he's on form, he should be able to create chances against a weak looking Blackpool backline.

Brandan Haunstrup should be the other player who makes way tomorrow with David Wheeler set to make his debut. Jackett made a shrewd acquisition there as the former Exeter winger posed Pompey many problems back in League Two and although he was never given the chance to shine in the Championship, he should shine in the third tier.

Of course, there is the feeling that the manager blindsides the fans with his team selection once again after last week, possibly by employing a 4-2-3-1 formation to bolster the midfield but who knows? If the fans are guessing at what his starting XI might be, then the opposition staff will be too.

A draw wouldn't have been seen as a terrible result before Bowyer's exit and although caretaker managers have come in and installed a siege mentality before, Blackpool look vulnerable and if Pompey are able to string more than a few passes together and not aimlessly hoof the ball up the pitch then this is a very winnable fixture for them.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Blackpool

GK: Mark HOWARD

RB: Donervon DANIELS

CB: Ben HENEGHAN

CB: Paudie O'CONNOR

LB: Joe BUNNEY

CM: Chris TAYLOR

CM: Jay SPEARING

CM: Harry PRITCHARD

RWF:Michael NOTTINGHAM

LWF: Nathan DELFOUNESO

CF: Joe DODOO

Pompey

GK: Craig MacGILLIVRAY

RB: Anton WALKES

CB: Matt CLARKE

CB: Jack WHATMOUGH

LB: Lee BROWN

RM: Jamal LOWE

CM: Ben CLOSE

CM: Tom NAYLOR

LM: David WHEELER

CF: Ronan CURTIS

CF: Brett PITMAN

Last Time: Blackpool 2 Portsmouth 3 (League One - 11/11/2017)

After a fairly eventless first half, the second sprang to lift when Pitman converted a rebound from Close's initial shot but Viv Solomon-Otabor converted Dolly Menga's cross for the equaliser.

Close then gave the visitors the lead after Blackpool failed to clear a ball into the box but his first Blues goal was cancelled out by another equaliser thanks to an own goal from Oli Hawkins.

However, Pompey weren't to be denied and Hawkins played his part in the winner as his header was nodded in by Pitman to ensure the three points returned to the south coast.

My Prediction

Strangely confident for this one and there will be some difficult questions to be answered if Pompey can't take three points from a team that look destined for a season of struggle.

Blackpool 0 Portsmouth 2