Portsmouth vs Oxford Preview

Pompey will be looking to bounce back from their Carabao Cup defeat when they take on Oxford United at Fratton Park.

Team News

New loan signing Ben Thompson is due to start the match after being brought in from Millwall for the rest of the season whilst Ronan Curtis will be restored in attack. Nathan Thompson and Dion Donohue should miss the match through injury.

Former Pompey pair Simon Eastwood and Ricky Holmes are likely to miss a return against their old club due to finger and back injuries respectively.

The Match

It was amusing to read some of the Pompey fans' comments after Tuesday's defeat to Wimbledon in the League Cup and even the local news jumped on the bandwagon by stating that people predicted a season of struggle despite the Blues winning their first two games.

Whilst it's nothing new for fans to overreact following a defeat, they need to get a grip as this is a team that's going to take a bit of time to play the kind of football we want to see.

Despite some of the reactions, there are concerns about how poor the midfield have been and it'll be interesting to see how Ben Thompson slots into that midfield and whether Kenny Jackett will revert to the 4-2-3-1 formation that he stuck with for the majority of last season.

A penny for Danny Rose's thoughts as he sees his manager sign a new midfielder whilst he bides his time, knowing that Pompey's season fell apart last year after his injury.

Speaking of players' thoughts, hopefully Anton Walkes is given support rather than abuse tomorrow after his difficult start to his Pompey career since signing permanently. His own goal on Tuesday will have given his doubters even more ammunition to shoot him down.

Expect Oli Hawkins to continue alongside the impressive Curtis as Brett Pitman was hauled off on Tuesday having made little impact. You have to wonder if he has actually had a falling out with Jackett or if it's simply a case of him not being fully fit.

As for the opposition, Oxford may currently be bottom of the league after two matches but that should be no indication of their quality. Karl Robinson may be an insufferable bellend but he's not a bad manager and he still has a good group of players at his disposal. If Ricky Holmes plays, expect him to make his mark on the game.

Despite that, failing to win this one will give the more hysteric Pompey supporters even more reason to think Pompey will be fighting a relegation battle this season.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: Craig MacGILLIVRAY

RB: Anton WALKES

CB: Matt CLARKE

CB: Jack WHATMOUGH

LB: Lee BROWN

RM: Gareth EVANS

CM: Tom NAYLOR

CM: Ben THOMPSON

LM: Jamal LOWE

CF: Oli HAWKINS

CF: Ronan CURTIS

Oxford

GK: Scott SHEARER

RB: Tony McMAHON

CB: Rob DICKIE

CB: Curtis NELSON

LB: Luke GARBUTT

DM: Josh RUFFELS

DM: Cameron BRANNAGAN

RM: Robert HALL

AM: Jamie MACKIE

LM: Ricky HOLMES

CF: Sam SMITH

Last Time: Portsmouth 3 Oxford United 0 (League One - 25/03/2018)

Kal Naismith hooked in an early goal in front of the Sky cameras but the match truly sprang to life in the second half when Alex Mowatt squandered his spot kick and proceeded to be sent off for a headbutt on ex-Swindon man Nathan Thompson.

With the man advantage, Brett Pitman scored twice to ensure Karl Robinson would be spitting feathers after his first game in charge of the U's.

My Prediction

Pompey should have enough quality to see off Oxford but you have to wonder about the midfield how well they'll protect the defence.

Portsmouth 2 Oxford United 1