Plymouth vs Portsmouth Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 14 October 2016

Pompey travel to Home Park tomorrow for what is their biggest game of the season so far.

Team News

Paul Cook has no new concerns ahead of the match with Noel Hunt still nursing a groin injury and Adam Buxton and Drew Talbot making their way back from their own injuries.

Paul-Arnold Garita is a doubt for the hosts whilst Gary Sawyer, Ryan Brunt and Oscar Threlkeld are all ruled out. Sonny Bradley and Jake Jervis are expected to start against their former club.

The Match

The small group of fans who went to the opening fixture of the 2012/2013 season at Home Park will remember how jolly it was to see the supporters of Portsmouth and Plymouth united.

After all, both clubs had been through financial turmoil and Argyle fans were standing on the streets with buckets to collect money to help Pompey survive. Both sets of supporters drank together whilst singing songs about our dislike for certain teams that play in red & white stripes.

The match itself didn't really matter. It was simply great to see how fans of two clubs of cities with proud naval traditions could respect each other and wish each other the best for the future.

Fast-forward four years and the mood has certainly changed. Revenge will be on the agenda for Pompey following one of the most heartbreaking moments in the club's history back in May. There should be more Argyle fans in attendance than usual and the police have already warned both sets of supporters not to cause trouble.

Whilst avenging that play-off semi-final defeat would be sweet, we have to remember that there are a very important three points on offer tomorrow and the players can't lose focus and be too distracted by past events.

Defeat is likely to spell the end of a title challenge even as early as October. Pompey would find themselves eleven points adrift of the league leaders and although Plymouth capitulated in hilarious fashion last year when they had supposedly won the league by Christmas, they probably won't do it again.

Last week's performance at Brisbane Road will give Pompey fans hope that they can beat the Pilgrims on their own turf. It was an accomplished defensive performance and Paul Cook's men should have won by more than the single goal.

Whilst Argyle will undoubtedly be tougher opposition, they are yet to beat a real quality team for this level and have managed to scrape results without really performing. If Pompey turn up and have a go at their full backs whilst giving Bradley a tough time, then there's no reason why they can't win this game. 

On the other hand, Plymouth are dangerous with their set-pieces and have a knack of scoring late in games. History tells us that Pompey are vulnerable to both of these and need to get themselves organised at all times whilst closing down their creative players in Graham Carey and Jordan Slew.

This should be a spectacle. Let's just hope Pompey have enough to get back in the race to be League Two champions by winning this one.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Plymouth

GK: Luke McCORMICK

RB: Gary MILLER

CB: Naurus BULVITIS

CB: Sonny BRADLEY

LB: Ben PURRINGTON

DM: Yann SONGO'O

DM: David FOX

RM: Jordan SLEW

AM: Graham CAREY

LM: Jake JERVIS

CF: Jimmy SPENCER

Pompey

GK: David FORDE

RB: Gareth EVANS

CB: Christian BURGESS

CB: Matt CLARKE

LB: Enda STEVENS

DM: Michael DOYLE

DM: Amine LINGANZI

RM: Gary ROBERTS

AM: Carl BAKER

LM: Kyle BENNETT

CF: Conor CHAPLIN

Last Time: Plymouth Argyle 1 Portsmouth 0 (League Two Play-Off Sem-Final Second Leg)

We all know what happened here. Thankfully, Paul Hartley won't be around to score a stoppage time header tomorrow. Let's just hope it isn't Sonny Bradley instead...

My Prediction

The away record of only scoring three goals in six games is a concern and defending direct balls into the box is still a worry but Plymouth have their own weaknesses to exploit too, so long as Pompey take the game to them. This is a tough one to call.

Plymouth Argyle 1 Portsmouth 1

Portsmouth Match Reports

Sky Bet League One Tue 17th October 19:45

Doncaster Rovers - - - Portsmouth

Last game - Match Centre


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