Stevenage vs Portsmouth Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 17 March 2017

Pompey take on high-flying Stevenage at Broadhall Way tomorrow looking for another win to strengthen their bid for automatic promotion.

Team News

Paul Cook has remained tight-lipped on the injuries to Kyle Bennett and Kal Naismith suffered during the 4-0 win over Grimsby on Tuesday night, so fans will have to wait and see if they're fit enough to play. Curtis Main and Jack Whatmough remain on the sidelines.

41-year-old Chris Day is set to start in goal for Stevenage as Jamie Jones is injured whilst Ron Henry is rated doubtful with a calf injury.

The Match

Confidence is sky high amongst the Pompey ranks currently but they face a tricky game against a Stevenage side who were in sensational form before being beaten 1-0 at Bloomfield Road on Tuesday night.

Not that Boro's recent form should worry Paul Cook too much as his side seem to have clicked having won their last three games in style. If Boro are beaten tomorrow then that would effectively end their hopes of catching Pompey as they would be ten points behind with just eight games left to play.

That would leave just Carlisle and Luton as the only serious challengers for Pompey's third position but for now the focus simply has to be getting a result at Broadhall Way.

Cook has been coy over the availability of Bennett and Naismith due to their ankle and hamstring injuries respectively. It seems doubtful that either one will play and therefore it's time for Gary Roberts and Jamal Lowe to step up.

There's also the option of playing Conor Chaplin just behind Eoin Doyle and shift Carl Baker out to the wing but that's unlikely as Baker has been playing well in his more central role. Including Roberts in from the start would slow the pace of the team down whilst Lowe is inexperienced but clearly talented. The latter should get the nod over the former.

Stevenage's main threat will be striker Matt Godden who has 19 league goals this season and found the net at Fratton Park earlier in the season. Steven Schumacher also scored in that match whilst Jobi McAnuff is capable of creating something out of nothing.

However, the Portsmouth defence hasn't been breached in three games and if the early storm can be weathered once again, you wouldn't bet against Pompey keeping their fourth successive clean sheet.

A draw isn't the worst result tomorrow but victory would be so sweet, especially if the chasing pack continue to drop points.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Stevenage

GK: Chris DAY

RB: Connor OGILVIE

CB: Luke WILKINSON

CB: Fraser FRANKS

LB: Andrew FOX

CM: Steven SCHUMACHER

CM: Jack KING

CM: Ben KENNEDY

RWF: Tom PETT

LWF: Jobi McANUFF

CF: Matt GODDEN

Pompey

GK: David FORDE

RB: Gareth EVANS

CB: Christian BURGESS

CB: Matt CLARKE

LB: Enda STEVENS

DM: Michael DOYLE

DM: Danny ROSE

RM: Gary ROBERTS

AM: Carl BAKER

LM: Jamal LOWE

CF: Eoin DOYLE

Last Time: Stevenage 0 Portsmouth 2 (League Two - 05/03/2016)

Marc McNulty scored midway through the first half after receiving Gar Roberts' through ball and the result was confirmed when Kal Naismith blasted in his first Blues goal with just two minutes of the match remaining.

My Prediction

A few weeks ago I predicted that this match would be one of the few defeats for Pompey between then and the end of the season but I can't predict a loss given the confidence coursing through this Portsmouth team.

Having said that, Stevenage have won every home league match since the turn of the year and will be formidable opponents. As stated before, a draw isn't a bad result here.

Stevenage 1 Portsmouth 1 

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