After the late win over Exeter City on Saturday, Pompey’s players will have to dust themselves off and prepare for another grueling 90 minutes of football. Well, having said that, they won’t because Paul Cook will make plenty of changes for the trip to Yeovil.
This is mainly due to the fact that nobody cares about the Checkatrade Trophy, although it could also be because of fatigue, and also to show their contempt for the inclusion of Premier League and Championship B teams being involved.
The changes to the squad will be costly, with a £5000 fine being the punishment for making more than five changes from the last competitive fixture, but it will be worth it. Yeovil are also unlikely to field their strongest team, but due to their financial restrictions, they may not be able to deal with the fine as easily as Pompey so may ensure that they only make five changes.
Yeovil have endured a mixed start to the season, having beaten Notts County in their opening game before taking a point off Luton at Kenilworth Road, as well as beating League One Walsall on their own patch in the EFL Cup. This shows that they are capable of performing well, but since then they have lost every game, conceding ten goals in their four games in all competitions. They currently sit in 21st place in League Two.
One to watch:
I’ll be honest – I have no idea who is likely to play tomorrow night so this is a bit of a shot in the dark, but former Pompey man, Izale McLeod is likely to make his debut for the Glovers. He has a proven goalscoring record, so the only question mark is his commitment to the team. At this stage of his Yeovil career, however, I think he is unlikely to try and force a move before the end of the transfer window so Pompey will need to be aware of his goalscoring ability.
Yeovil have been deploying a 4-3-3 formation for much of the season, and they are likely to continue using that system on Tuesday night for the visit of Pompey. They tend to use Alex Lawless as the more defensive of the three central midfielders, while the other two push forward and look to create chances.
We’ve seen you before…:
Izale McLeod will be relieved that the match is at Huish Park rather than Fratton Park, as he is bound to be on the receiving end of a barrage of abuse from the travelling support. While at Pompey, he made himself unavailable for selection – as he has done numerous times with different clubs – in order to force a move away. The journeyman striker will not be popular with the travelling fans, so he will be glad that there will be so few of them.
The only recent match worth looking at as far as the Blues are concerned is the trip to Coventry in the EFL Cup, where Pompey made eleven changes. They took the League One outfit to extra time, before going down 3-2. It was an encouraging performance and a good opportunity to give the squad players a run out. I’m sure Pompey’s team for the Checkatrade Trophy will be similar, and hopefully they can produce a matching performance.
I’m expecting Paul Cook to stick to his 4-2-3-1 system, but for different players to feature. I think Cook will make eleven changes to the team and, while Tom Davies might keep his place, due to the lack of fit centre backs I think he and Burgess will be rested and Ben Close will slot in in defence, as was seen in a couple of friendlies. This is my predicted lineup for the match:
To be completely honest, I don’t think Pompey’s team will be strong enough to beat any kind of Football League opposition, especially if Yeovil only make five changes for the match. I am predicting a 2-0 defeat for Pompey, but hopefully some of the youngsters will put in a good showing.
Man of the match prediction:
I think the Pompey man of the match could be Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain. I was impressed with him in pre-season and, more recently, the Premier League Cup match against Southend when he came on and played as a right-back. He is naturally a midfielder, so poses a threat going forward when he is played at right-back.
First goalscorer prediction:
Unfortunately, I think McLeod will be the first player to score tomorrow, as one thing which cannot be doubted is that he has a knack for finding the net. I can see him opening his account for Yeovil tomorrow and being a fairly consistent goalscorer before his inevitable move away. The only question is whether he will leave in January or at the end of the season.
Hopefully I am wrong and Pompey will stroll through the group stage of the competition (dispatching Reading under 23s along the way) and onto Wembley for the final. In all likelihood, however, Pompey’s EFL Trophy journey will end after three defeats, and nobody will be too disappointed. I guess that’s just the magic of the Checkatrade Trophy.