Portsmouth vs Scunthorpe Preview
By Jim Bonner
Updated Monday, 28th February 2011
Can Pompey make it five in a row?Pompey aim to make it five victories in a row without conceding when they host struggling Scunthorpe on Tuesday night.
Steve Cotterill may go with the same side that beat Ipswich on Saturday, though he may be tempted to put Liam Lawrence back into the side if he has fully recovered from his calf injury.
Scunthorpe may be without defender Paul Reid, who injured his ribs at Ashton Gate during the weekend. Michael Raynes could take his place in the team.
There are a few Pompey fans who believe that this should be an "easy" three points for us, but we've all been watching Portsmouth long enough to know that they have a habit of screwing up when expectations are high.
You can see why people in the Pompey camp are so confident; Ian Baraclough's team have lost their last five away matches and haven't scored a goal in any of those games.
On the other hand, Pompey are now virtually guaranteed to avoid relegation having been just a few points clear of Scunthorpe a few weeks ago. The recent run of form has seen premature talk of a play-off push emerge but a win would see Pompey sit seven points adrift of sixth place in the Championship.
Steve Cotterill's only real dilemma ahead of this match is whether to give Liam Lawrence his place back in the side should he be available.
The two Davids have been playing well in this new 4-2-3-1 formation and so the Irishman shouldn't displace them, whilst Joel Ward would consider himself unlucky to be dropped after his recent performances.
There is the option of reverting back to a 4-4-2 formation and push Nugent up front with Kitson but I would personally leave a winning team as it is and keep Lawrence out for the time being. Besides, he's not a bad player to come off the bench to change things if we happen to be losing, is he?
Scunthorpe's recent woeful run would suggest that we could hammer the Iron and do our goal difference the power of good. I think that the in-form David Nugent is going to pose major problems for Scunthorpe's defence as will Cotterill on the other side of the pitch.
But more importantly Dave Kitson has the opportunity to boost his confidence by playing against such a cagey back four, he won't play against much worse defences this season so now is the chance to get his personal campaign back on track.
The only thing I'm worried about come kick-off is complacency. We may be on a good run but Scunthorpe have plenty of fight and have managed a few good results recently, albeit at Glanford Park.
There is also the feeling that the team will go and screw things up in "typical Pompey" fashion like past teams have done in the past. However, I think the three points are there for the taking and I'd be disappointed if we didn't take them.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Jamie ASHDOWN
RB: Ritchie DE LAET
CB: Greg HALFORD
CB: Ricardo ROCHA
LB: Hermann HREIDARSSON
DM: Hayden MULLINS
DM: Jonathan HOGG
RM: David COTTERILL
CM: Joel WARD
LM: David NUGENT
CF: Dave KITSON
GK: Josh LILLIS
RB: Andy HUGHES
CB: Michael RAYNES
CB: Michael NELSON
LB: Ben GORDON
RM: Mark DUFFY
CM: Josh WRIGHT
CM: Sam TOGWELL
LM: Andrew WRIGHT
CF: Joe GARNER
CF: Lee MILLER
Last Time: Portsmouth 2 Scunthorpe United 1 (FA Cup Fourth Round - 24/01/2004)
Matthew Taylor scored a goal in each half to give Portsmouth a comfortable lead against their Third Division opponents but Andy Parton's volley late into the game had Pompey fans sweating as Scunthorpe pushed for an equaliser, but they couldn't find it.
Despite Pompey's knack of not following the script, I can't see anything but another win for the Blues and hopefully another clean sheet too.
Portsmouth 2 Scunthorpe United 0