Portsmouth vs Accrington Stanley Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 10 February 2017

Pompey take on lowly Accrington at Fratton Park tomorrow in a game they dare not fail to win.

Team News

Gareth Evans is a doubt for the match after injuring his foot against Wycombe, meaning Drew Talbot could finally return to the starting eleven. Curtis Main is still injured, of course.

Defender Matty Pearson and midfielder Scott Brown will miss tomorrow's match through suspension but Rommy Boco is expected to start against his former club.

The Match

Tomorrow's match against Stanley is the first of four home games where Pompey simply have to take maximum points from if their challenge for automatic promotion is to be kept alive.

Visits from Blackpool, Morecambe and Crewe follow tomorrow's match in what will be a defining period of the season for Paul Cook and his men. Only twelve points wouldbe considered acceptable from those matches and even then, Carlisle will probably have to be beaten at the end of the month to have a realistic shot at third place.

The performance at Wycombe last week wasn't particularly bad but wasteful finishing and a slice of bad luck meant a second defeat in a row to a promotion rival without scoring.

The main problem seems to be creating chances with Cook still unsure of his best attacking midfield trio. Gary Roberts continues to look sluggish whilst Carl Baker lacks any real pace. It'll be interesting to see who the manager burdens with the task of putting the ball on a plate for Eoin Doyle tomorrow.

If Evans fails to be fit in time for tomorrow then it'll be interesting to see how Talbot performs on his return to the team. He was lacklustre at the start of the season so has some making up to do.

As for Accrington, they have a couple of dangerous players in Billy Kee and Shay McCartan whilst there'll always be the superstitous who'll worry that Boco will score despite his dreadfulness. However, John Coleman's men have struggled on the road this season and there can be no excuses for Pompey if they fail to beat them.

Having said that, a dire Notts County side have won at Fratton Park as have a mediocre Stevenage whilst Pompey couldn't break down a terrible Hartlepool team either. A win is far from assured tomorrow and you can only imagine how hostile the atmosphere will be if Pompey fall behind.

In the other League Two fixtures featuring the other teams chasing that coveted third place, Carlisle host Blackpool whilst Luton welcome Crawley in matches you would expect the home sides to win. Wycombe face a banana skin at Stevenage whilst in-form Exeter have a Devon derby at Home Park so there is potential for points to be dropped there.

But Portsmouth have to get the job done themselves tomorrow. No exceptions.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: David FORDE

RB: Drew TALBOT

CB: Christian BURGESS

CB: Matt CLARKE

LB: Enda STEVENS

DM: Michael DOYLE

DM: Amine LINGANZI

RM: Carl BAKER

AM: Gary ROBERTS

LM: Kyle BENNETT

CF: Eoin DOYLE

Accrington

GK: Marek RODAK

RB: Janoi DONACIEN

CB: Harvey RODGERS

CB: Omar BECKLES

LB: Rommy BOCO

RM: John O'SULLIVAN

CM: Sean CLARE

CM: Seamus CONNEELY

LM: Sean McCONVILLE

CF: Shay McCARTAN

CF: Billy KEE

Last Time: Portsmouth 1 Accrington Stanley 0 (FA Cup Second Round - 05/12/2015)

Adam McGurk slotted in a loose ball to score the only goal of the match to confirm Pompey's first appearance in the third round of the FA Cup for five years.

My Prediction

I fancy Eoin Doyle to score on his home debut in a game that Pompey will edge unconvincingly. I dread to think of the fans' reaction if Paul Cook's men fail to deliver tomorrow.

Portsmouth 1 Accrington Stanley 0

Portsmouth Match Reports

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Last game - Match Centre


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