Portsmouth vs Luton Preview

Pompey kick off their 2018/2019 campaign looking for a win against newly-promoted Luton Town at Fratton Park.

Team News

Jamal Lowe will miss the opening game of the season due to an ankle injury but is expected to return in a fortnight whilst Dion Donahue is also unavailable due to illness. Craig MacGillivray, Lee Brown, Tom Naylor and Ronan Curtis will all be expected to make their Pompey debuts.

Star striker Danny Hylton will be missing for the Hatters as he was sent off at the end of last season and thus, his suspension will be carried over. Sonny Bradley, signed from Plymouth, should start against his old club as could ex-loanee Dan Potts. New signings Matty Pearson, Jorge Grant and Andrew Shinnie could also start.

The Match

The curtain raiser for this season should certainly be a tough one as Luton should perform well due to the sheer amount of attacking power in their squad. And as bad as Sonny Bradley was at Pompey, he has become a half-decent centre back at League One level and should strengthen their back four.

Thankfully, Luton's main man in Hylton is banned but Pompey's back four will still have to deal with James Collins who netted the winner in the last match. Still, they looked increasingly settled as pre-season wore on despite the new additions of Brown and MacGillivray.

Many fans will be excited to see how Pompey's new boys begin their Fratton Park careers. Naylor has shone during pre-season whilst Curtis offers something different and could be a good bet to mark his debut with a goal having come so close against Utrecht.

Speaking of opening day goals, it's hard to look past Brett Pitman, isn't it? If he stays fit he should better his tally of 24 goals from last season. Kenny Jackett also mentioned during the fans' forum yesterday that he wants Pompey to be more threatening from set-pieces so expect Clarke and Whatmough to push up if Pompey win a corner.

As for what formation the manager picks for tomorrow's game, the most likely has to be the 4-4-2 that played against Utrecht otherwise what's the point in employing that system so close to the start of the season? At least the squad has the flexibility to change systems should Luton take control of the game tomorrow.

With Lowe out, expect Gareth Evans to deputise at right midfield whilst Haunstrup should continue to play on the left. The team will probably look to press Luton high up the pitch and use the width to toss dangerous balls into the box given that Luton are likely to play a diamond 4-4-2.

Everyone will be looking forward to the match and Nathan Jones' side will be a good barometer of just how well Pompey could do this season. Win handsomely, and that pre-season excitement might just increase.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: Craig MacGILLIVRAY

RB: Nathan THOMPSON

CB: Matt CLARKE

CB: Jack WHATMOUGH

LB: Craig BROWN

RM: Gareth EVANS

CM: Anton WALKES

CM: Tom NAYLOR

LM: Brandan HAUNSTRUP

CF: Ronan CURTIS

CF: Brett PITMAN

Luton

GK: Marek STECH

RB: James JUSTIN

CB: Matty PEARSON

CB: Sonny BRADLEY

LB: Dan POTTS

DM: Alan McCORMACK

CM: Luke GAMBIN

CM: Jorge GRANT

AM: Andrew SHINNIE

CF: James COLLINS

CF: Harry CORNICK

Last Time: Portsmouth 1 Luton Town 0 (League Two - 02/01/2017)

Christian Burgess headed in the only goal of this heated clash which was overshadowed by a nasty injury to Cameron McGeehan (and his subsequent reaction) which saw him stretchered off the pitch. Not a game for the purists.

Match Prediction

This will be a tough contest as Luton will want to show they can be contenders at a higher level but Hylton is a big miss for them, they have an awful record at Fratton Park and Pompey have plenty of quality all over the pitch to do some damage. Could be a debut goal or two, also.

Portsmouth 2 Luton Town 1