Torquay vs Portsmouth Preview
By Jim Bonner
Updated Friday, 25th October 2013
Pompey return to Devon for another go at the Gulls.
Portsmouth go back to Plainmoor to play Torquay in the league having already beaten them in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy this season.
Despite Tuesday's match with Wycombe being called off, Sonny Bradley's yellow card still stands and so he is banned for accumulating five bookings this season. David Connolly and Tom Craddock have returned to training but won't make the squad and Marcos Painter is also still injured but Danny East is fit again.
Krystian Pearce may return to the Torquay side after serving a suspension whilst West Ham striker Paul McCallum is pushing for a start.
Losing arguably Pompey's best performer so far this season is a blow for Guy Whittingham but on the positive side it is better for him to miss what seems like an easier match on paper than say, next week's game against high-flying Exeter.
Joe Devera is likely to move to centre back alongside Bondz N'Gala which means Whittingham must either select Danny East, Shaun Cooper or Dan Butler to play at left back. It's unlikely Butler will be given a chance and personally I would say that East will get the nod over Cooper if he's 100% fit.
Whilst I have said previously that form counts for nothing in this divison when it comes to predictions it has to be said that Torquay taken just a single point from the last 15 available, are currently 22nd in the table and their fans are extremely frustrated with manager Alan Knill and his team's style of play.
When you add to that the fact that a weakened Pompey team went to Plainmoor and controlled the JPT match (despite not scoring but eventually winning) the omens are good for tomorrow's match.
However, the last one-and-a-half performances have not been too encouraging with Bury unlucky to get a result last Saturday and with some feeling that had the rain not intervened on Tuesday, Wycombe would have gone on to win that game as Pompey barely created anything.
Still, if there has been a lesson to be learned about Portsmouth this season is that a bad performance can be followed by a very good one. Keeping the defence tight will be key, especially without Bradley but N'Gala has proven capable at this level and Devera's recent performances have been good too.
Pompey have enough quality up front to score the goals and given how blunt the Gulls' attack has been this season then there is plenty of reason to be cautiously optimistic tomorrow.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Martin RICE
RB: Dale TONGE
CB: Anthony O'CONNOR
CB: Thomas CRUISE
LB: Kevin NICHOLSON
RM: Adebayo AZEEZ
CM: Lee MANSELL
CM: Jak McCOURT
CM: Billy BODIN
LM: Nathan CRAIG
CF: Karl HAWLEY
GK: Trevor CARSON
RB: Yassin MOUTAOUAKIL
CB: Bondz N'GALA
CB: Joe DEVERA
LB: Danny EAST
RM: Jed WALLACE
CM: Johnny ERTL
CM: Therry RACON
LM: Ricky HOLMES
CF: Patrick AGYEMANG
CF: John MARQUIS
Last Time: Torquay United 0 Portsmouth 0 (Portsmouth win 5-3 on penalties) (Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 03/09/2013)
Pompey dominated possession against the lacklustre Gulls but couldn't convert that possession into goals and had to settle for a goalless draw, sending the game to penalties. Mansell skied his spot kick which gave Moutaouakil the chance to seal the win, doing so by chipping Rice in Panenka fashion.
The York game was a harsh lesson in what a side in poor form can do to you but that lesson has been learned and Pompey should have enough to win this game despite Bradley's absence.
Torquay United 0 Portsmouth 2