Pompey go into Saturday’s game on the back of two contrasting performances, after they lost 2-1 to Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup on Saturday but beat Bristol Rovers by the same scoreline in the Checkatrade Trophy. Depending on whether or not you think the Checkatrade Trophy is a valid competition, you could say that Pompey have lose three in a row at home, but they have not come into the match directly from a loss.
Mansfield sit in a solid mid table position in 13th, having conceded exactly the same number of goals as they have scored. Their most recent game was a 3-2 win over Derby County’s under 23s but before that they were four games without a win.
One to watch:
Matt Green has netted seven times so far this season for the Stags and will probably be their main goal threat when they come to Fratton Park. Michael Rose is also an experienced player at this level in attacking midfield so Pompey’s defence will have plenty to keep them busy on Saturday.
Mansfield tend to operate with a single striker, either in a 4-3-3, 4-5-1, or 4-2-3-1 depending on the strength of the opposition. It is likely that they will use one of their more conservative tactics for the trip to Fratton Park due to the quality of Pompey’s attackers but hopefully they will still play for a win.
We’ve seen you before…:
The Stags are one of the few teams at the moment who do not employ a single ex-Pompey player, although they do have a Danny Rose, which will cause some stress for the commentators if Pompey’s Danny Rose also starts.
Paul Cook said in his post-match interview on Saturday that the first half was “the worst 45 minutes of his tenure.” He did indicate that the second half showing had been more pleasing but he has told his players in no uncertain terms that a better showing is required this weekend.
I would expect a bit of a reshuffle both from the side which played against Wycombe and the one which played against Bristol Rovers last night. David Forde will come back in for Liam O’Brien, Gareth Evans could find himself back at right-back, and Carl Baker and Kyle Bennett will almost certainly find themselves back in the starting eleven. Here is my predicted lineup:
I expect Pompey to respond to last weekend a prove that they are still promotion candidates. Mansfield are not a bad side but are not the sternest opponents either and could find themselves being outplayed by a reinvigorated Blues team. I’ll go for a 3-0 home win.
Man of the Match prediction:
Gary Roberts was on the end of some abuse from frustrated fans last week, and when that has happened in the past he generally comes back to silence his critics soon after. I can see a Gary Roberts masterclass on Saturday.
First goalscorer prediction:
Conor Chaplin is a poacher in the penalty area and rarely spends too long on the pitch without finding the net. He has had a rest after making eight consecutive starts and now has the opportunity to play at his highest level on Saturday.