Portsmouth vs Bury Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 15 December 2017

Pompey take on rock bottom Bury at Fratton Park tomorrow looking for a win to take them within the fringes of the play-off places.

Team News

Ben Close is available again after recovering from a thigh injury whilst Ollie Hawkins and Dion Donahue should also be available for selection. Kal Naismith, Milan Lalkovic, Damien McCrory and Jack Whatmough are all still injured.

Former Pompey players Michael Smith and Chris Maguire could feature against their former side tomorrow whilst former Leeds and Everton striker Jermaine Beckford is set to return to the side.

The Match

Having deservedly beaten Charlton last weekend, there is now a genuine belief amongst Pompey fans that this season could yet yield promotion with Kenny Jackett's men now just three points behind the Addicks in 6th place.

Tomorrow begins a run of fixtures at home where Pompey will be expected to take maximum points. Bury are bottom of the league whilst AFC Wimbledon and Northampton are the next two visitors to Fratton Park with both battling against the drop.

Focusing on the Shakers, they may be bottom of the league and without an away win all season but a huge portion of that can be put down to the inept management of Lee Clark. Since Chris Lucketti took charge at Gigg Lane, Bury are unbeaten in their last three matches.

Their squad, on paper at least, contains some quality players. Pompey fans know what Maguire is capable of and Beckford brings a wealth of experience to the side. Nicky Ajose and Jay O'Shea are also quality attacking players at League One level.

Factor in the returning Michael Smith will want to make a point against his former employees and all of a sudden this fixture looks far more difficult than what it seems on paper.

Thankfully, whilst Bury have plenty of attacking power in their squad, they are coming up against a defence which has seemed to have upped its game as a unit and no longer gives away cheap goals. In contrast, the visitors still look disorganised at the back and could struggle against Pompey's pace and cunning in attack.

As for team selection, it wouldn't be surprising to see Kyle Bennett replace Conor Chaplin in the number ten role after he changed the game at The Valley on Saturday. Other than that, expect an unchanged side to take to the game to the opposition and create plenty of chances down the wings.

This festive period is the perfect opportunity for Portsmouth to announce themselves as genuine promotion contenders going into 2018. Let's hope they don't screw it up.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: Luke McGEE

RB: Nathan THOMPSON

CB: Christian BURGESS

CB: Matt CLARKE

LB: Brandan HAUNSTRUP

DM: Danny ROSE

DM: Stuart O'KEEFE

RM: Gareth EVANS

AM: Kyle BENNETT

LM: Jamal LOWE

CF: Brett PITMAN

Bury

GK: Leonardo FASSAN

RB: Phil EDWARDS

CB: Nathan CAMERON

CB: Eoghan O'CONNELL

LB: Gregory LEIGH

DM: Rohan INCE

DM: Josh LAURENT

RM: Jay O'SHEA

AM: Callum REILLY

LM: Chris MAGUIRE

CF: Jermaine BECKFORD

Last Time: Portsmouth 0 Bury 1 (League Two - 18/04/2015)

Ryan Lowe's goal just before half-time was enough to sink Gary Waddock's Pompey side in a dire match at Fratton Park. Adam May would make his professional debut late on, but this was a totally forgettable afternoon for the Blues.

My Prediction

This game should be tougher than people might think but Pompey's form combined with their new-found defensive strength should be enough to see off the Shakers.

Portsmouth 2 Bury 1

Portsmouth Match Reports


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