Crawley vs Portsmouth Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 20 January 2017

Pompey have the opportunity to finish the weekend in third place in League Two if they can win at Crawley Town tomorrow.

Team News

Milan Lalkovic has joined Ross County on loan for the rest of the season and is therefore unavailable. Curtis Main continues to have an abdominal injury whilst Gareth Evans should be fit despite being substituted at half-time. Nicke Kabamba will also be hoping for a debut appearance tomorrow.

Big striker Matt Harrold has an Achilles injury and won't play for the hosts tomorrow, although former Portsmouth academy graduate Andre Blackman could feature.

The Match

Baring in mind how Paul Cook was singing Milan Lalkovic's praises when it came to breaking stubborn teams down, it seems bizarre that he would allow his summer signing to go to Scotland when Crawley are the kind of opposition he would relish.

Last season's fixture was incredibly frustrating as the hosts sat back and held Pompey to a goalless draw but they fancy their chances of a play-off place this year and will likely be more adventurous tomorrow.

Only Notts County and Cambridge have come away from the Broadfield Stadium with victories in the league this season and they've won their last two. Although Pompey pummelled them at Fratton Park earlier this season they're a completely different proposition on their own turf.

Cook is likely to name an unchanged line-up from Saturday's win over Leyton Orient, meaning the much maligned Michael Smith will play up front once again.

Whilst he has his defenders on social media and in the stands, he has to start justifying his place in the team by scoring goals. Currently, there's no reason why Noel Hunt couldn't do as an effective job as him, if not, better. It would be good to see what the two ex-Hampton & Richmond lads could do up front, too.

Wobbling Carlisle visit Accrington tomorrow and should they fail to win and Pompey can pick up the three points, then Paul Cook's men will be in the automatic promotion places.

Whether they have enough quality to be victorious at a difficult ground to win at, however, remains to be seen.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Crawley

GK: Glenn MORRIS

RB: Lewis YOUNG

CB: Mark CONNOLLY

CB: Joe McNERNEY

LB: Andre BLACKMAN

DM: Jimmy SMITH

DM: Josh YORWERTH

RM: Enzio BOLDEWIJN

AM: Billy CLIFFORD

LM: Dean COX

CF: James COLLINS

Pompey

GK: David FORDE

RB: Gareth EVANS

CB: Christian BURGESS

CB: Matt CLARKE

LB: Enda STEVENS

RM: Carl BAKER

CM: Michael DOYLE

CM: Danny ROSE

LM: Kal NAISMITH

CF: Conor CHAPLIN

CF: Michael SMITH

Last Time: Crawley Town 0 Portsmouth 0 (League Two - 18/08/2015)

An incredibly negative Red Devils side managed to hold out for a goalless draw even though Matt Tubbs' goal was incorrectly ruled out for offside. The Crawley fans celebrated the result as if they'd won the World Cup as Pompey fans left Broadfields frustrated.

My Prediction

A positive Pompey side can overcome Crawley and I think Paul Cook's men have enough quality to edge this encounter.

Crawley Town 1 Portsmouth 2

Portsmouth Match Reports

Sky Bet League One Sat 18th November 15:00

Portsmouth 1 - 0 Southend United

Last game - Match Centre


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