Pompey will look to recover from the disappointing defeat at the Keepmoat Stadium last Thursday with a win when they host Leyton Orient on Saturday. The O’s are on their third manager of the season after the sacking of Alberto Cavasin and are looking to put together a good run of form to recover what has so far been a poor season for the club.
Leyton Orient have been very disappointing so far this season and will need to pick up their form to improve on their current position in 21st. However, they have not seen an improvement in form since sacking Alberto Cavasin and have won just one of their last five matches.
One to watch:
Paul McCallum is Orient’s top scorer in League Two this season and has been doing a reasonably good job leading the line, scoring six goals. The striker will have an extra incentive to continue his goalscoring form against his former club and Pompey will have to ensure they can deal with the physical striker.
The O’s currently employ a 4-2-3-1 system, with Josh Koroma and Michael Collins playing in front of the back four and Gavin Massey, Nigel Atangana, and Teddy Mezague playing in behind McCallum. However, there is a chance that Orient could use a 4-4-2 system against the Blues with Ollie Palmer coming into the team to partner McCallum up front.
We’ve seen you before…:
Orient have a number of familiar faces to me, and have two ex-Pompey players, and even more intriguingly, two ex-Havant & Waterlooville players. Paul McCallum played just two matches during his loan spell at Fratton Park, coming on as a substitute in one and being sent off for punching the referee in the other. He is unlikely to be given a generous welcome. Nigel Atangana is more likely to get a warm reception, having turned out for both Havant & Waterlooville and the Blues over the past two seasons. Meanwhile, Ollie Palmer made his name at Westleigh Park and has enjoyed a reasonably successful spell at Brisbane Road since his move from the Hawks.
Pompey were on a fairly lengthy unbeaten run prior to the defeat at Doncaster Rovers, having gone five matches without defeat. Among those games was a very impressive win at home to Luton which could prove to be a vital three points come the end of the season. However, the Doncaster result is a very damaging one as the Blues are now four points off Carlisle in the last automatic promotion place and so need a win to keep up the pressure on the top three.
One would have been forgiven for going into tomorrow’s game thinking that the Blues would field a very similar team to the one which turned out at Doncaster, but Paul Cook’s recent press conference could suggest otherwise. He said “come three o’clock on Saturday, I think Pompey fans will be pleased with the team we put out.” This might suggest that the likes of Conor Chaplin, Milan Lalković, and Gary Roberts could come back into the starting lineup. I also feel there is a reasonable chance that Jamal Lowe could take a place on the bench for the first time after his arrival from Hampton & Richmond Borough. Here is my predicted lineup:
I’m hoping and expecting a win for the Blues on Saturday as they will be very keen to recover from the loss at Doncaster. The visitors are on a very poor run at present and my feeling is that they will collapse if Pompey can get an easy goal. I’m predicting a 4-0 Pompey win.
Man of the Match prediction:
Gary Roberts has been very average since his return to the squad and has put in two poor performances. However, he is a class player at this level and it is simply a matter of time before he shows his quality. He could show just how valuable he is to Pompey with a match winning performance tomorrow.
First goalscorer prediction:
If it is the case that Conor Chaplin is used in a 4-4-2 system, I would not be at all surprised to see him get on the scoresheet. He is a clinical finisher and I think he could well show as much if he is used alongside Michael Smith.