Pompey travel to Huish Park for their New Year’s Eve fixture (yes, I know it’s the 30th December) where they will look to stretch their unbeaten run on the road to eight games. Away form has not been a concern recently for the Blues, and they will look to push on from their Boxing Day win over Newport County with another good result.
The Glovers have endured a mixed start to the season, and sit in 13th place. Their most recent match was a Boxing Day goalless draw against local rivals, Exeter, meaning they are three league games without a win. Yeovil would probably be perfectly happy with a mid-table finish so will be wanting to continue their steady start.
One to watch:
One of the Glovers’ key men this season has been Otis Khan, who has chipped in with five goals from the wing, including a couple of spectacular efforts. The Blues will need to be wary of his ability coming off the left wing tonight if they hope to keep a clean sheet.
Although the hosts normally use a 4-3-3 system, the absence of Ryan Hedges through injury may prompt Darren Way to opt for a 4-4-2 formation tonight, with Francois Zoko partnering Tom Eaves in attack.
We’ve seen you before…:
Until recently, the Glovers had a Pompey connection in Izale McLeod, but he has once again moved on from Huish Park after joining in the summer. McLeod has the reputation of a journeyman striker, if a very talented one, so few will be surprised that his stay at Huish Park was cut short. Since his departure, Yeovil no longer have any ex-Pompey players.
Pompey will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to four matches and will be very pleased with their recent away form. This will be Pompey’s latest chance to put together a good run of results which will push them back into the automatic promotion spots. They had to come from 2-0 down to beat Newport County on Boxing Day and, although they will be delighted with the three points, they will be hoping for a more straightforward victory this time around.
Paul Cook switched to a 4-4-2 system to play Newport County, and i am expecting him to do the same for tonight’s match. Cook has been open in his intentions to make changes to his lineup over the Christmas period but I wouldn’t expect to see more than a couple of amendments to the eleven which started on Boxing Day. Gary Roberts will not travel to the match as he is being rested, but Kyle Bennett could see himself come back into the side at the expense of Carl Baker. Here is my predicted lineup:
Unfortunately, I think a draw is the most likely result tonight and Pompey will be unable to get another win after their victory at Rodney Parade. The game could be a very scrappy one and I’m predicting a 1-1 draw.
Man of the match prediction:
Michael Smith tends to be the focal point of Pompey’s attacks when they go for a more direct style so I reckon that will be the case tonight. The forward seems a different player from the one who started the season leading the line and hopefully he will continue his good form. Smith also scored a hat-trick when the two sides met in the Checkatrade Trophy this season so has history with Yeovil.
First goalscorer prediction:
I can see Yeovil taking an early lead tonight, and Francois Zoko scored last season in this fixture so Pompey could fall victim to him once again tonight. Zoko has been in decent form so far this season, especially in the cups, and has a couple of goals to his name already even though he is not an automatic starter.