Pompey will be looking to get their automatic promotion bid back on track when they take on struggling Newport County at Fratton Park tomorrow.
Christian Burgess is suspended after his dismissal at Broadhall Way which means Tom Davies should keep his place in the team as part of a back four with Jack Whatmough still injured. Paul Cook is hopeful that Kyle Bennett and Kal Naismith will be fit to play whilst Curtis Main is finally training again!
Mark O'Brien and Mitch Rose are also suspended for the visitors but Ryan Bird and Dan Butler could make appeaerances against their former club.
Michael Eisner may have dominated the headlines in Portsmouth this week but that takeover news has overshadowed what was a poor result last weekend at Stevenage.
Everything seemed to go wrong having hit the woodwork twice as the 3-5-2 formation simply didn't work and some woeful defending allowed Boro to score three simple goals. Conor Chaplin's abysmal attempt at a Panenka penalty just underlined a miserable afternoon for the Pompey fans, although they still found made their voices heard.
Thankfully, with that tough fixture out of the way, Pompey now face a run of games where they shuld be taking maximum points, starting with tomorrow's match against 23rd placed Newport.
However, Pompey fans will be well aware that this game won't be as easy as it looked a few weeks ago. Since Graham Westley was sacked, Michael Flynn has won seven points in four matches in charge of the Exiles which has given them a fighting chance of survival.
Add to that the fact that Portsmouth have lost all three League Two matches at home to the Exiles without scoring a single goal in the process and they have Ryan Bird and Dan Butler in their side then all of a sudden this game seems like a particularly challenging one.
Paul Cook takes charge of Pompey for the 100th time tomorrow and he will surely have no choice but to ditch the 3-5-2 formation given Burgess' suspension. He'll be hoping that Bennett and Naismith are fit but it seems unlikely and so Gary Roberts and/or Jamal Lowe could be called up to play on the wings and make an impact.
Newport will ultimately play a physical game so it's important that Pompey score early to ensure the crowd don't become frustrated. If not, some patience is required as there will come a time when the Welsh side will have to attack as a draw is no good to them at this stage of the season.
The bottom line is that Newport are still a poor side and Pompey should be beating them with the players at their disposal. But it's up to the manager to get things right and the players to be up for the fight.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: David FORDE
RB: Gareth EVANS
CB: Tom DAVIES
CB: Matt CLARKE
LB: Enda STEVENS
DM: Michael DOYLE
DM: Danny ROSE
RM: Carl BAKER
AM: Gary ROBERTS
LM: Kyle BENNETT
CF: Eoin DOYLE
GK: Joe DAY
RWB: David PIPE
CB: Sid NELSON
CB: Darren JONES
CB: Mickey DEMETRIOU
LWB: Dan BUTLER
CM: Scott BENNETT
CM: Joss LABADIE
CM: Sean RIGG
CF: Ryan BIRD
CF: Alex SAMUEL
Last Time: Portsmouth 0 Newport County 3 (League Two - 12/03/2016)
Fresh off the back of a significant victory at Accrington Stanley, Pompey were promptly put back in their place when Darren Jones headed in the first goal for County before Gary Roberts was shown a second yellow card for diving. Scott Boden and Dean Morgan scored in the second half to ensure a miserable afternoon for Pompey fans.
Pompey will either return to winning ways by just beating dogged Newport or Ryan Bird will get ahead of Tom Davies to head in Dan Butler's cross as the Exiles escape Fratton Park with a win. Here's hoping it's the former...
Portsmouth 2 Newport County 1