Wycombe vs Portsmouth Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 03 February 2017

Both Wycombe and Pompey will be looking to get their promotion bids back on track following defeats to Exeter when they meet at Adams Park tomorrow.

Team News

Eoin Doyle is expected to go straight into the starting eleven tomorrow whilst Aaron Simpson may make his debut at right back. Jamal Lowe will be hoping to start whilst Nicke Kabamba may make the bench.

Gareth Ainsworth could be short of attacking options for tomorrow's game as Paris Cowan-Hall, Scott Kashket and Adebayo Akinfewna are all doubtful. Matt Bloomfield is certainly missing due to injury.

The Match

It's safe to say that the defeat to Exeter last Saturday really soured the mood amongst Pompey fans who are now seriously doubting if Paul Cook and his players have what it takes to get promoted.

Thankfully, that mood was somewhat lifted on transfer deadline day with the much anticipated arrival of Eoin Doyle and a right back to hopefully fix Pompey's problem position. Those two arrivals, combined with some of the dead wood leaving, has given the supporters a fresh sense of optimism going into a tough looking February.

How long that optimism lasts will surely depend on what happens tomorrow. Usually, a draw away at promotion rivals is considered a good result but given how many teams are in the hunt for third place, a point could well see Pompey fall further behind the automatic places.

It seems like Cook may go back to basics for this fixture and play his trusted 4-2-3-1 formation now he has Doyle to lead his frontline. It'll be interesting to see who plays behind him as Carl Baker has been poor whilst Jamal Lowe has looked bright, Gary Roberts has an excellent understanding with his former Chesterfield team mate and Kyle Bennett's pace can threaten the somewhat static Chairboys defence.

Conor Chaplin also scored an outstanding goal in the reverse fixture and will feel unlucky to be left out. Who knows? Gareth Evans could even be pushed further forward if Simpson is given a debut, but that seems unlikely given Cook's midweek interview claiming that the Wolves loanee will have to be patient. Perhaps Drew Talbot will make a shock return?

As for the match itself, we all know what Wycombe are about by now. They're physical, irritating, time-wasting and will play direct football to the big men up front. The first goal will be absolutely crucial but visiting fans might take heart that the home side simply can't find a way of beating the Blues having squandered a two goal lead last season and drawn and lost the previous fixtures before that despite Pompey being in woeful form at the time.

Plymouth face a tough test at Cambridge tomorrow whilst Luton travel to Grimsby in matches that they could possibly drop points from but with Exeter hosting Crewe and Carlisle travelling to hapless Orient, Portsmouth could really do with the three points tomorrow.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Wycombe

GK: Jamal BLACKMAN

RB: Sido JOMBATI

CB: Aaron PIERRE

CB: Anthony STEWART

LB: Joe JACOBSON

CM: Luke O'NIEN

CM: Dominic GAPE

CM: Sam WOOD

RWF: Paul HAYES

LWF: Scott KASHKET

CF: Adebayo AKINFENWA

Pompey

GK: David FORDE

RB: Gareth EVANS

CB: Christian BURGESS

CB: Matt CLARKE

LB: Enda STEVENS

DM: Michael DOYLE

DM: Danny ROSE

RM: Carl BAKER

AM: Gary ROBERTS

LM: Kal NAISMITH

CF: Eoin DOYLE

Last Time: Wycombe Wanderers 2 Portsmouth 2 (League Two - 28/11/2015)

The hosts were gifted the lead as Brian Murphy charged off his line and passed the ball straight to Luke O'Nien who gave it to Michael Harriman who guided it into an empty net. Three minutes later Garry Thompson doubled the lead but there was hope as Caolan Lavery pulled a goal back before the break.

Adam Webster equalised in the second half with a bullet header from a corner but Paul Cook's men couldn't find the winner they were pushing for and had to settle for a draw.

My Prediction

This will be a tough game but I fancy Doyle (Eoin, that is) to score on his debut. Our defence cannot be trusted to keep a clean sheet, however, and therefore I think this will be a draw. Just how useful a point will be depends on other results but defeat leaves Pompey with a mountain to climb.

Wycombe Wanderers 1 Portsmouth 1

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