Portsmouth vs Morecambe Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 21 November 2014

Pompey prepare to take on Morecambe at Fratton Park tomorrow with Andy Awford and his players under extreme pressure to deliver.

Team News

New loan signings Marcus Bean and Matt Fish are set to go straight into the side and are likely to replace Nigel Atangana and Alex Wynter respectively. Awford is also likely to make other changes to the side that were dumped out of the cup by Aldershot.

Morecambe manager Jim Bentley has no new injury concerns for his side with Jamie Devitt, Andreas Arestidou and Barry Roche all long term injuries.

The Match

Pompey hit a new low following Wednesday night's travesty and tomorrow will simply be about bouncing back under pressure because failure to beat Morecambe could well spell the end of Andy Awford's tenure as Portsmouth manager.

Awford was very frank in his post-match interview midweek, slamming his players for not showing the right attitude and also admitting he is under serious pressure to win matches fast, knowing his head will be on the chopping block otherwise.

My opinion is that he will go if he doesn't take at least four points from the next two matches. The Pompey fans will expect to beat "little Morecambe" at home where form has generally been solid whilst the next fixture is away at Tranmere who currently occupy the bottom two in the division so at least a draw will be wanted there, too.

A defeat in either of those matches will surely see the board lose patience and act regardless of how much of the blame Awford truly deserves having been let down by his players in recent times.

The immediate focus is the Shrimps and they currently sit three points above Pompey in the table and are your typical inconsistent mid-table side having beaten Bury last week but lost at Accrington Stanley the week before. They have beaten Burton and Southend on their travels, however, and shouldn't be taken lightly at all.

Kevin Ellison may well be 35-years-old but he still remains an integral part of their team and has eight goals to his name whilst Jack Redshaw is a hot prospect and one to watch should he play tomorrow.

As for Pompey, it can be assumed that Bean and Fish will both play and it'll be interesting to see what they bring to the team. Bean describes himself as an energetic box-to-box midfielder whilst Fish was outstanding when Gillingham won League Two a couple of seasons ago although a nasty injury has hampered his progress.

Atangana and Wynter will surely make way for the loan duo but the cull isn't likely to end there. Time is surely up for Nicky Shorey now with Dan Butler waiting in the wings whilst neither Ryan Taylor or Craig Westcarr can be assured of their places up front with Miles Storey and Patrick Agyemang pushing for starting roles.

Whoever Awford picks, they simply have to perform to possibly save their manager's job tomorrow. He has called for unity and it would be good to hear the fans in full voice at Fratton Park even if Pompey fall behind.

Because once the supporters turn on the team, that will surely be curtains for Awford and so this is a match that Pompey must give everything in and win at any cost.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: Paul JONES

RB: Matt FISH

CB: Paul ROBINSON

CB: Jack WHATMOUGH

LB: Dan BUTLER

RM: Jed WALLACE

CM: Danny HOLLANDS

CM: Marcus BEAN

LM: Ricky HOLMES

CF: Ryan TAYLOR

CF: Miles STOREY

Morecambe

GK: Scott DAVIES

RB: Mark HUGHES

CB: Shaun BEELEY

CB: Andy PARRISH

LB: Laurence WILSON

RM: Alan GOODALL

CM: Ryan EDWARDS

CM: Andrew FLEMING

LM: Kevin ELLISON

CF: Paul MULLIN

CF: Jack REDSHAW

Last Time: Portsmouth 3 Morecambe 0 (League Two - 17/08/2012)

Jed Wallace gave Pompey an early lead and David Connolly doubled it after finishing from a tight angle. The Shrimps' Andy Wright was then sent off for a second yellow card as Patrick Agyemang curled in a third to wrap the game up in the first half.

My Prediction

Awford may make changes but his team are shot of confidence and Morecambe are no mugs. The fans will be expecting a reaction from the last two dismal defeats but this one could well be a stalemate as Pompey can't defend but do create chances at home.

Portsmouth 1 Morecambe 1

Portsmouth Match Reports

Sky Bet League One Sat 18th November 15:00

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