Portsmouth vs Burton Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 16 January 2015

Burton Albion come to Fratton Park tomorrow looking to do the double over Pompey who desperately need a win themselves to steer clear of a relegation battle.

Team News

West Ham loanee Paul McCallum should go straight into the first team to play alongside Matt Tubbs. James Dunne could be handed a start after coming on as a substitute in the last two matches.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is likely to name a unchanged lineup from his team's 2-1 win over Mansfield as winger Lucas Akins isn't ready to start a match yet.

The Match

This is a very important game for the future of not only Pompey's season but possibly Andy Awford's managerial career, too. The performances (and results) during next two home games with Burton tomorrow and Southend next weekend will give a clear indication as to the direction that Pompey are ultimately going to go under Awford's leadership.

Should the next two results be bad with unacceptable performances to go with them, then there really might not be any way back for Awford as his team would be in danger of relegation and the majority of Pompey fans would surely lose faith in the man despite the improved peformances away from home.

Getting a result in the next two games is not going to be easy, either. Burton currently sit second in League Two and are unbeaten in six matches, winning four of them. Pompey, meanwhile, are bottom of the league's form table after a miserable December and he unlucky defeat last week.

The Brewers are a prime example of what a lot of hard work can do for a team in League Two as they have no star players in their team but they are all grafters and will chase down lost causes. They also don't concede many goals and are happy to scrap for every ball, too.

Therefore, it would be a good idea for Awford to reintroduce James Dunne into the starting eleven as his qualities are likely to be essential for winning this game.

And whilst Burton don't have any star names in their team, Pompey have two in Jed Wallace and Matt Tubbs who many will be backing to score tomorrow. It'll also be interesting to see how Paul McCallum links up with Tubbs and the midfield as he looks to make his debut a scoring one.

Pompey's defence has also improved in the last two matches as they haven't given the opposition as many chances to score compared to previous games and look more comfortable as a unit. Is tomorrow finally the day where they keep a clean sheet?

This game is a difficult one to call despite the form of both teams. A positive result against one of the division's best may yet turn Pompey's season around.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: Paul JONES

RB: Adam WEBSTER

CB: Joe DEVERA

CB: Paul ROBINSON

LB: Nicky SHOREY

RM: Nigel ATANGANA

CM: James DUNNE

CM: Danny HOLLANDS

LM: Jed WALLACE

CF: Matt TUBBS

CF: Paul McCALLUM

Burton

GK: Jon McLAUGHLIN

RB: Phil EDWARDS

CB: John MOUSINHO

CB: George TAFT

LB: Damien McCRORY

RM: Lucas AKINS

CM: Darragh LENIHAN

CM: Matt PALMER

LM: Kelvin MAYNARD

CF: Jacob BLYTH

CF: Stuart BEAVON

Last Time: Portsmouth 0 Burton Albion 0 (League Two - 11/03/2014)

Richie Barker's boring Blues played out a dull and lifeless goalless draw with Gary Rowett's Brewers who seemed content to take a point from Fratton Park from the start in this remarkably dreary night game.

My Prediction

This is a really tough one to call as although the form of both teams is contrasting there has been an improvement in Pompey's performances and the new additions to the squad up front will be eager to make an impression on the Fratton faithful.

Portsmouth 1 Burton Albion 1

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