Portsmouth vs Mansfield Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 11 October 2014

Portsmouth take on Mansfield Town tomorrow looking for only their second win in eight games.

Team News

Joe Devera could keep his place in the team after leaving the pitch early on Tuesday due to stomach cramps. If he isn't available then Andy Awford faces a defensive crisis with Jack Whatmough, Ben Chorley and Adam Webster all out. Michael Drennan is also unavailable due to a calf injury.

Mansfield manager Paul Cox faces an even bigger selection headache with only 15 fit players to choose from. Rob Taylor is ill but may be forced to play whilst captain Adam Murray starts his three match ban after a red card against Accrington.

The Match

Pompey's poor run of form has seen the pressure on Andy Awford just start to build slightly although some fans have gone way over the top with their criticism.

Mansfield fans have also become disillusioned with their team and their manager in particular with the Stags known for their horrible brand of hoofball and physical play style. Expect them to lump the ball direct to Matt Rhead and then try and play from there whilst stifling the opposition.

That tactic, as droll as it sounds, may well work given how Newport did virtually the same thing and came away with a scrappy 1-0 win. Johnny Ertl himself has stated that this game will be a scrap, so hopefully Pompey's more talented attacking players can make the difference.

And this is the main worry as apart from Jed Wallace there hasn't been any player in the Pompey squad who looks capable of creating chances and even when they are created, there is nobody there to stick the ball in the back of the net.

There is also the worry that Pompey will have to play a weakened back four. If Devera is injured then that leaves just Paul Robinson and Ertl as the only available centre backs with either Shorey, Butler or Wynter on either flank. Given how badly they defended (Robinson excluded) on Tuesday, keeping a clean sheet is going to be unlikely unless Paul Jones comes up with a heroic performance should Mansfield actually prove themselves to be capable in attack.

This is an important match for Pompey and Awford in particular to win. Failure to do so may see those restless fans sharpening their vocal chords much like they did with Guy Whittingham at around about this time last season.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: Paul JONES

RB: Alex WYNTER

CB: Paul ROBINSON

CB: Johnny ERTL

LB: Dan BUTLER

CM: James DUNNE

CM: Danny HOLLANDS

CM: Nigel ATANGANA

RWF: Jed WALLACE

LWF: Ricky HOLMES

CF: Ryan TAYLOR

Mansfield

GK: Sacha STUDER

RB: Lee BEEVERS

CB: Martin RILEY

CB: Ritchie SUTTON

LB: Kieran FREEMAN

RM: Billy BINGHAM

CM: Ryan TAFAZOLI

CM: Jamie McGUIRE

LM: Fergus BELL

CF: Matt RHEAD

CF: Ollie PALMER

Last Time: Portsmouth 1 Mansfield Town 1 (League Two - 19/01/2014)

Mansfield took the lead early in the second half thanks to a Lee Stevenson overhead kick but Ryan Taylor equalised with his first goal for the club by driving the ball into the far corner of the goal in what was otherwise a fairly drab encounter.

My Prediction

With both sides in indifferent form don't expect too much entertainment from this one. Pompey need to win but could well be frustrated by the Stags and end up settling for a draw.

Portsmouth 1 Mansfield Town 1

Portsmouth Match Reports


Trending on the boards