Portsmouth vs Crawley Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 01 January 2016

Pompey take on Crawley Town at Fratton Park for their first game in 2016 knowing that only a win will do to keep pace with the other promotion chasers in League Two.

Team News

Adam Webster is likely to return to the team after serving his suspension and Gary Roberts is also primed to return to the starting eleven after coming off the bench in the last couple of games.

Former Pompey centre back Sonny Bradley is set to start for Crawley at centre back whilst striker Matt Harrold may also start after being rested in their last match against Wycombe.

The Match

After Pompey were frustrated by a Luton side that were happy to settle for a draw last week the home fans can expect more of the same when Crawley roll into town tomorrow, if the reverse fixture is anything to go by.

The match at the Broadfield Stadium back in August saw possibly the most negative performance from a home team ever as Mark Yates parked the bus and his team earned a point despite a Matt Tubbs goal being incorrectly ruled out for offside. Sonny Bradley was also the best player for the hosts that day and will want to prove a point again.

Having said that, the Red Devils are in no danger of being relegated after a slow start to the season and lie comfortably in mid-table, so they may well come to Fratton Park and have a go.

As for Paul Cook's men, a little less wastefulness from the attacking players and a more effective end product is required after Saturday's draw. Roberts will probably come in but will it be in place of Kyle Bennett who offers some verve and energy but lacks conviction or Gareth Evans who went missing on Saturday yet previous to that had been in good form?

Whoever is picked, they will need to get the job done as failure to win could see Pompey's chances of automatic promotion take a serious blow. Plymouth are away at Carlisle, Northampton host Barnet and Oxford visit Notts County. How likely is that the three teams that occupy the top three places in the league drop points?

There's also the fact that a few of the teams below Portsmouth have games in hand, too. Therefore, there can be no slip ups against mid-table Crawley with two key games against Accrington Stanley and Oxford to come.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: Brian MURPHY

RB: Ben DAVIES

CB: Adam WEBSTER

CB: Matt CLARKE

LB: Enda STEVENS

DM: Michael DOYLE

DM: Danny HOLLANDS

RM: Gary ROBERTS

AM: Marc McNULTY

LM: Kyle BENNETT

CF: Caolan LAVERY

Crawley

GK: Callum PRESTON

RB: Jon ASHTON

CB: Sonny BRADLEY

CB: Josh YORWERTH

LB: Mitch HANCOX

RM: Lewis YOUNG

CM: Simon WALTON

CM: Jimmy SMITH

LM: Gwion EDWARDS

CF: Lee BARNARD

CF: Matt HARROLD

Last Time: Portsmouth 1 Crawley Town 2 (League One - 26/12/2012)

Pompey took an early lead when Paul Benson headed in Scott Allan's cross but Crawley hit back when Mat Sadler's free kick evaded everyone and ended up in the net and then Billy Clarke tapped in a winner to ensure a miserable Boxing Day for Guy Whittingham and co.

My Prediction

I'm expecting a reaction after a couple of poor results and whilst Sonny Bradley and Lee "Scummer" Barnard may have their say, there should be enough in this Portsmouth side to dispose of Crawley.

Portsmouth 2 Crawley Town 1

Portsmouth Match Reports


Trending on the boards