Portsmouth vs Mansfield Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 23 October 2015

Portsmouth take on high-flying Mansfield Town looking for only their third win in eight games at home.

Team News

Gary Roberts faces a couple of weeks out with an ankle injury whilst Gareth Evans serves the last of his three-match-ban. Aaron McCarey has returned to Wolves following his loan spell so Brian Murphy will return in goal.

Nicky Hunt returns to the Mansfield side after serving a suspension following the red card he picked up in the Stags' defeat to Bristol Rovers last weekend. However, Krystian Pearce received a straight red card in that match and remains banned. Craig Westcarr is set to start against his former club.

The Match

"Fortress Fratton" has been anything but that this season with just 10 points taken from a possible 21 from home games and none of those games (on paper at least) have been as difficult as the test that comes tomorrow.

Mansfield have defied the critics that had them down as relegation candidates and currently sit fourth in the league. They will jump Pompey in the table if they win tomorrow and although their away record isn't as good as their opposition's, it's stll impressive having won their last three games on the road.

The Pompey defence will have to be on their toes as Adam Murray's men are capable of scoring plenty of goals. Old boy Westcarr has four goals to his name but Matt Green is also a dangerous striker whilst defender Ryan Tafazoli is also capable of finding the net.

Undoubtedly this will be a difficult game and it won't have been made any easier with the absence of Gary Roberts. This will surely mean that Kal Naismith will earn a start and we can finally see what he is capable of.

What Pompey fans would really like to see, however, is two strikers playing up top. Given the amount of possession Paul Cook's men have had in previous games, there hasn't been too many noteworthy opportunities created during them and an extra body for a crosser to aim for could make all the difference.

Matt Tubbs may not start the match anyway with Conor Chaplin scoring and Caolan Lavery looking useful when he came on Tuesday night. It's going to be difficult to predict what side the manager picks tomorrow but there is a feeling that a change in system is required.

A win is desperately needed tomorrow not just for the points but for the belief that Pompey are capable of beating the better teams in this division at home. The amazing away record can't be expected to last forever therefore getting it right at Fratton Park is imperative.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: Brian MURPHY

RB: Ben DAVIES

CB: Christian BURGESS

CB: Adam WEBSTER

LB: Enda STEVENS

DM: Michael DOYLE

DM: Adam BARTON

RM: Kal NAISMITH

AM: Conor CHAPLIN

LM: Kyle BENNETT

CF: Caolan LAVERY

Last Time: Portsmouth 1 Mansfield Town 1 (League Two - 11/10/2014)

After a dreadful first half, Mansfield took the lead when Simon Heslop struck the ball past Paul Jones from the edge of the box. Paul Robinson equalised soon after by converting Nigel Atangana's cut back but there was to be no winner for Andy Awford's men.

My Prediction

It's going to be another draw and Westcarr will probably bag a late equaliser for the Stags just to rub it in, too.

Portsmouth 1 Mansfield Town 1

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