Doncaster vs Portsmouth Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 04 January 2017

Pompey's automatic promotion credentials will be seriously tested when they take on league leaders Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow.

Team News

Paul Cook is unlikely to make any changes to the team that started Monday's win over Luton although Gary Roberts is in contention and Jamal Lowe may be on the bench. Curtis Main still remains sidelined with a mystery abdominal injury.

19-year-old striker Liam Mandeville is rated "very doubtful" for tomorrow's match due to a thigh strain whilst Gary McSheffrey,Luke McCullough and Aaron Taylor-Sinclair are also sidelined.

The Match

If Pompey could end Doncaster's unbeaten home record tomorrow, it would be a real statement of intent from Paul Cook's men as the gap between the two teams would be reduced to four points.

Doing so will be difficult given that Rovers are the top scorers in the division and also have a solid defence to go with it. However, Pompey have lost just once in their last ten matches and are unbeaten in eight games on the road, so they'll fancy their chances of getting a result.

Despite Cook's philosophy, he seems to have learned in recent weeks that his team will need to "win ugly" if they are to be promoted and that was epitomised with Monday's narrow win over Luton. It wouldn't be surprising if the Blues tried to contain the hosts and hit them on the break with direct passes up top, whilst getting the basics right at the back.

This match may well be decided by which team makes fewer mistakes and both teams were guilty of costly errors in the reverse fixture. David Forde can't afford another slip-up as he was to blame for both Donny goals at Fratton.

Whilst a win would be wonderful, a draw wouldn't be a bad result by any means. Let's hope that Pompey can perform in front of the cameras because Doncaster have a history of getting stage fright which has resulted in a poor record in televised fixtures.

A smash 'n' grab 1-0 win tomorrow night would be something that not even Paul Cook would apologise for...

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Doncaster

GK: Marko MAROSI

RB: Matty BLAIR

CB: Mathieu BAUDRY

CB: Andy BUTLER

LB: Niall MASON

RM: Jordan HOUGHTON

CM: Connor GRANT

CM: Tommy ROWE

LM: James COPPINGER

CF: Andy WILLIAMS

CF: John MARQUIS

Pompey

GK: David FORDE

RB: Gareth EVANS

CB: Christian BURGESS

CB: Matt CLARKE

LB: Enda STEVENS

DM: Michael DOYLE

DM: Danny ROSE

RM: Kal NAISMITH

AM: Carl BAKER

LM: Kyle BENNETT

CF: Michael SMITH

Last Time: Doncaster Rovers 1 Portsmouth 1 (League One - 16/03/2013)

Chris Brown gave the hosts an early lead after turning in David Cotterill's cross but a late strike from Jed Wallace earned struggling Pompey a well deserved draw against the league leaders.

My Prediction

Keeping Doncaster out will be difficult but Pompey seem to have some extra steel about them at the moment and are capable of scoring the odd goal also. A score draw in front of the Sky cameras, methinks.

Doncaster Rovers 1 Portsmouth 1

Portsmouth Match Reports


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