Oxford United vs Portsmouth Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 11 August 2017

Pompey make the relatively short journey to the Kassam Stadium tomorrow for their first away game back in League One.

Team News

Tareiq Holmes-Dennis is set to miss three to four months of the season with damaged ankle ligaments which means Brandan Haunstrup is likely to deputise after featuring in the League Cup loss at Cardiff. Jamal Lowe serves the second of his three match ban.

Oxford centre back Charlie Raglan misses the game with his own ankle ligament injury but Simon Eastwood, Mike Williamson and Wes Thomas are all set to play against their former club.

The Match

Whilst the Portsmouth players were exhausted by the end of extra time in Wales on Tuesday, they cannot use that as an excuse for defeat tomorrow as Oxford were also beaten in extra time, only in far more embarrassing fashion at home to Cheltenham.

Despite that result, tomorrow's match is expected to be a tough one as Pep Clotet has inherited a good squad from Michael Appleton and there will be concerns for Kenny Jackett as he goes into this match without three of his first-choice defenders.

It seems like Haunstrup will be shown some faith and it will be interesting to see how he performs if he is picked. The other option would be to have Drew Talbot fill in at lft back with Gareth Evans reverting to right back. That may not be as bad as it seems baring in mind how well Talbot has played in his first two matches since being frozen out last season.

Some have suggested that Adam May's performance at Cardiff warrants a starting berth tomorrow and it's true that Carl Baker's inclusion in the centre of midfield leaves the defence exposed, so it's another thing for Jackett to ponder.

Of course, Pompey fans will be wondering how their ex-players will perform against their former club. Simon Eastwood had a hard time whilst at Fratton Park but has improved remarkably since then, so expect him to pull off a few saves much like Brian Murphy did on Tuesday.

It would be no surprise to see Wes Thomas score against Pompey but who knows how Mike Williamson will far? After all, he never played a single minute for us!

A draw wouldn't be a bad result here in honesty. Whilst having Brett Pitman in the team always means you've got a chance of winning any game in League One, the defensive situation is worrying.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Oxford

GK: Simon EASTWOOD

RB: Christian RIBIERO

CB: Mike WILLIAMSON

CB: Curtis NELSON

LB: Marvin JOHNSON

RM: Robert HALL

CM: Josh RUFFELS

CM: Ryan LEDSON

LM: Joe ROTHWELL

AM: Jack PAYNE

CF: Wes THOMAS

Pompey

GK: Luke McGEE

RB: Drew TALBOT

CB: Christian BURGESS

CB: Jack WHATMOUGH

LB: Brandan HAUNSTRUP

DM: Danny ROSE

DM: Carl BAKER

RM: Gareth EVANS

AM: Brett PITMAN

LM: Kyle BENNETT

CF: Conor CHAPLIN

Last Time: Oxford United 1 Portsmouth 1 (League Two - 15/09/2015)

Liam Sercombe fired the home side ahead with a strike from outside the box but Adam McGurk equalised with a thunderbolt from nowhere in the second half. Michael Doyle was sent off late on for a second bookable offence but Pompey held on for a draw.

My Prediction

This will be a test of what Pompey are capable of and how deep the squad is. A draw would be an acceptable result here.

Oxford United 2 Portsmouth 2

Portsmouth Match Reports

Sky Bet League One Sat 12th August 15:00

Oxford United 3 - 0 Portsmouth

Last game - Match Centre


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