Portsmouth vs Doncaster Preview

Pompey take on Doncaster at Fratton Park tomorrow still looking for their first win of 2018.

Team News

Stephen Henderson is set to start his first Portsmouth match since March 2012 after arriving on loan from Nottingham Forest whilst Anton Walkes should also be included in the starting eleven following his arrival from Tottenham. Adam May is suspended after being sent off against Shrewsbury last weekend.

Doncaster have three of their first choice defenders out injured with Mathieu Baudry, Joe Wright and Andy Butler all on the sidelines. Darren Ferguson has brought in Tom Anderson and Andy Boyle to go some way to replacing them and both will start tomorrow's game.

The Match

After an extremely difficult January and a lacklustre transfer deadline day to go with it, Pompey could really do with the tonic of winning their first match of the calendar year as they take on last season's title bottle jobs in Doncaster Rovers.

Rovers themselves haven't won a league game in 2018, either, but were unbeaten in eight games until their 3-1 reverse at the hands of Bristol Rovers. All being said, a home fixture with Darren Ferguson's men remains Pompey's best prospect of winning a match since beating Northampton back in December.

John Marquis remains Rovers' biggest threat and the visitors have also had a knack of scoring late goals recently, which is worrying as Pompey have been conceding them. They can't afford to slack against a team of grafters like Doncaster and if it becomes a game of attrition, then Pompey may very well lose.

It'll be interesting to see how Jackett's new signings settle in. It's harsh for Luke McGee to be dropped for Henderson but we all know how good the latter is after his time in the Championship for us. As for Walkes, where will he play? He has been mooted to fill in at defensive midfield despite playing at right back for most of his short career.

And will Brett Pitman continue to be dropped or will the manager bring him back into the fold knowing that Doncaster's new look defence won't have had time to gel and therefore could struggle to contain someone with Pitman's nous?

Whoever plays, Pompey desperately need a win as the dealings (or lack of) on transfer deadline day left a sour taste in a lot of the fans' mouths and the atmosphere at Fratton Park could easily turn toxic if the result doesn't go the way most people at the game will hope.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: Stephen HENDERSON

RB: Anton WALKES

CB: Matt CLARKE

CB: Christian BURGESS

LB: Dion DONAHUE

DM: Nathan THOMPSON

DM: Ben CLOSE

RM: Jamal LOWE

AM: Connor RONAN

LM: Kal NAISMITH

CF: Brett PITMAN

Doncaster

GK: Ian LAWLOR

RB: Matty BLAIR

CB: Tom ANDERSON

CB: Andy BOYLE

LB: Tyler GARRATT

RM: Jordan HOUGHTON]

CM: Ben WHITEMAN

CM: James COPPINGER

CM: Tommy ROWE

LM: Alfie BEESTIN

CF: John MARQUIS

Last Time: Portsmouth 1 Doncaster Rovers 2 (League Two - 01/10/2016)

John Marquis opened the scoring after rounding an onrushing David Forde before slotting into an empty net and then Andy Williams doubled the lead soon after. Carl Baker pulled one back after Joe Wright needlessly kept in Gareth Evans' cross but an equaliser couldn't be found.

My Prediction

The owners' mantra seems to be slow and steady progress and that might well go for events on the pitch, too. I think this will be a draw.

Portsmouth 1 Doncaster Rovers 1