Rotherham vs Portsmouth Preview

Pompey fans will make their first ever trip to the New York Stadium tomorrow as 8th takes on 7th in League One.

Team News

Stuart O'Keefe's injury was worse than first feared and he has had groin surgery which will keep him out for 10-12 weeks. There has been no other injury news and so the same squad available for last week's 1-1 draw with Scunthorpe will be ready for the trip to South Yorkshire.

Rotherham have signed Michael Smith from Bury (for a fee, would you believe!) and could well start against his former club for the second time this season. Joe Mattock and Ryan Williams are ex-Pompey loanees who may feature for the Millers but Darren Potter is out.

The Match

Kenny Jackett must be getting frustrated with the injuries his squad have suffered at such a crucial stage of the season as yet his side face another team hoping to finish in the top six this season. There might be a little added edge to this one, too, as the Millers beat Pompey at Fratton Park to end their woeful away record earlier in the season and revenge will be on the mind of some of the visiting fans.

In fairness to Paul Warne, he has done a terrific job in recovering Rotherham's fortunes after a dire campaign last year and his team are unbeaten in seven games. Whilst a win at the New York Stadium will be huge, most Pompey fans will probably take a draw from this one.

Having said that, the home side can no longer rely on top scorer Kieffer Moore. The on-loan Ipswich striker scored 13 times (the same tally as Brett Pitman) but has been sold to Barnsley and they have seemingly replaced him with Michael Smith, who has already performed hopelessly against Pompey this season when he was with Bury.

As for how the Blues will fare, it has become increasingly difficult to guess what Jackett has planned after he sprung the 3-5-2 on us last week. He may opt for a more compact formation away from home but who knows? It'll also be interesting to see how Connor Ronan fares away from home against a physical team. If he's allowed to shine then Pompey have a fair chance of winning tomorrow's game.

One interesting stat to come out of the local rag is just how well Pompey's fortunes go if they score the opening goal as opposed to conceding. Kenny Jackett's men have won 12 of 14 games when scoring first as opposed to losing 11 of 14 when conceding the opener. A hardly eye-opening statistic, but it does help convey that Pompey aren't really capable of fightbacks yet know how to hold on to leads.

If Brett Pitman could nudge Pompey in front tomorrow then that would be very handy, wouldn't it?

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Rotherham

GK: Marek RODAK

RB: Joshua EMMANUEL

CB: Semi AJAYI

CB: Richard WOOD

LB: Joe MATTOCK

RM: Anthony FORDE

CM: Will VAULKS

CM: Richie TOWELL

LM: Ryan WILLIAMS

CF: David BALL

CF: Michael SMITH

Pompey

GK: Luke McGEE

CB: Ollie HAWKINS

CB: Christian BURGESS

CB: Matt CLARKE

RWB: Jamal LOWE

DM: Nathan THOMPSON

DM: Ben CLOSE

AM: Connor RONAN

LWB: Dion DONAHUE

CF: Brett PITMAN

CF: Kal NAISMITH

Last Time: Rotherham United 2 Portsmouth 3 (Division One - 05/10/2002)

Vincent Pericard and Svetoslav Todorov gave Pompey a comfortable lead at Millmoor before Darren Byfield pulled one back for the hosts. Chris Swailes was then sent off for a foul on Pericard in the box as Paul Merson converted the resulting penalty. Alan Lee scored from the spot in the second half but Pompey held on for the win.

My Prediction

This is a tough match and Pompey's away form has been far from convincing. However, they should have enough about them to earn a creditable draw.

Rotherham United 1 Portsmouth 1