Portsmouth vs Torquay Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 31 January 2014

Pompey play arguably their biggest game of the season tomorrow when relegation threatened Torquay United visit Fratton Park.

Team News

Richie Barker is likely to name an unchanged team from the one that won at Wycombe on Tuesday although Jed Wallace is in contention to start, if he's still at the club after the transfer deadline.

On-loan Millwall striker Aiden O'Brien could make his debut for Torquay and winger Danny Stevens could also start having re-joined the Gulls yesterday. Shaun Cooper will miss the game with injury having joined Torquay after being released by Pompey.

The Match

You don't need to be a football genius to understand how important tomorrow's match at Fratton Park will be.

Torquay currently occupy 23rd position in League Two and are six points adrift of Pompey, albeit with a game in hand. A home win will go a long way to banishing the thoughts of Portsmouth being a non-league club next year but defeat drags Richie Barker's men right back into the dogfight.

"Dogfight" would be the appropriate word to describe Pompey's matches of recent times and the win at Adams Park on Tuesday was a result of sheer hard work and more than a little luck.

There is a feeling amongst Pompey fans that the luck was due and that result will be a turning point in the season. The entire team grafted with the front two holding the ball up well and the defence looking like a far more organised unit with Ben Chorley at its heart.

The midfield still needs some work as Romain Padovani kept giving the ball away and the wingers could be used more effectively when on the counter-attack, but generally the team have improved even if the style has been lacking.

The biggest worry tomorrow is likely how the fans react should Pompey not create many chances against one of the division's poorest teams. The supporters were quick to get on the player's backs during the goalless draw with Northampton and if the opposition come to Fratton Park and park the proverbial bus, then the home fans could get frustrated quickly.

Still, there should be enough graft in this team to create enough chances to win this game and the defence shouldn't give much away. Victory here and Pompey fans can start looking up, rather than down the League Two table.

That's if the match goes ahead given tonight's forecast, of course.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: Trevor CARSON

RB: Daniel ALFEI

CB: Ben CHORLEY

CB: Joe DEVERA

LB: Marcos PAINTER

RM: Wes FOGDEN

CM: Nicky SHOREY

CM: Romain PADOVANI

LM: Andy BARCHAM

CF: Ryan TAYLOR

CF: Jake JERVIS

Torquay

GK: Michael POKE

RB: Anthony O'CONNOR

CB: Aaron DOWNES

CB: Krystian PEARCE

LB: Kevin NICHOLSON

CM: Lee MANSELL

CM: Damon LATHROPE

CM: Joss LABADIE

RWF: Elliot BENYON

LWF: Karl HAWLEY

CF: Jayden STOCKLEY

Last Time: Portsmouth 3 Torquay United 0 (League Cup First Round Second Leg - 24/08/1999)

Having drawn the first leg 0-0, Pompey cruised to victory as Luke Nightingale scored early on and then volleyed in the third as Steve Lovell scored in between those goals for a comfortale win for Alan Ball's men.

My Prediction

The football will be poor and the conditions worse but Pompey's fortunes look to have changed after the events on Tuesday and they should be able to graft out the important win tomorrow.

Portsmouth 2 Torquay United 0

Portsmouth Match Reports


Trending on the boards