Pompey will look to bounce back from successive league defeats on Saturday when they host Accrington Stanley at Fratton Park. The Blues have had a difficult couple of matches against two of the in-form teams in League Two so they will need to pick up maximum points against a very much out of form Stanley.
Stanley sit in 19th place in League Two at the moment and, although they are not in any real danger of relegation, they are certainly not going to trouble the top half. However, recently they have improved, and have taken eight points from their last five league matches. They are not going to repeat last season’s success of getting into the play-offs, but Pompey will certainly have to be careful.
One to watch:
Last season Accy were able to rely on the goals of Billy Kee, but he has so far failed to rediscover his scoring touch and has registered just seven goals this season. A player who has been more important in Stanley’s season has been Omar Beckles, who has been a rock at the back. Pompey’s attack will need to be on top form to find a way past him on Saturday.
Accrington will line up in a 4-4-2 system with Billy Kee and Shay McCartan up front. They have a reputation for playing a direct brand of football and will probably lump it up to their strikers from deep, while not overcommitting in attack. When Stanley came to Fratton Park last season they sat deep and came out with a goalless draw, and I would not be surprised to see them use similar tactics this time around.
We’ve seen you before…:
Rommy Boco is the only ex-Pompey man in Accrington’s ranks and he is unlikely to get the best reception of his career. This is partly because of his failed spell at Fratton Park and also because John Coleman played him against Pompey despite there being a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ that Boco would play no part in the match.
Pompey’s recent results have been worrying and as well as suffering two consecutive defeats, the Blues have won just two of their last five games. Defeats have come against Wycombe Wanderers, Exeter City, and Doncaster Rovers, and Pompey will need to keep themselves in with a chance of automatic promotion with a good result. They are currently seven points behind Carlisle with a game in hand and it is vital that they don’t fall further behind.
Paul Cook reverted to a 4-2-3-1 system for the match against Wycombe Wanderers, with new signing Eoin Doyle leading the line. From what I have heard the striker looked bright last week and will be keen to open his goalscoring account on Saturday. Cook was pleased with last week’s performance – if not the result – so I am expecting him to pick an unchanged team.
I’m going to go for an emphatic victory for the home side as they will look to reaffirm their promotion credentials. The signing of Eoin Doyle could have a profound effect on the confidence of the team so I’m predicting a 3-0 victory at Fratton Park.
Man of the match prediction:
As I said, the arrival of Eoin Doyle could be the decisive factor and I can see him making a big impact on Saturday. Doyle is a proven goalscorer and operates at his very best under Paul Cook so I can see him scoring a couple in a man of the match performance against Accrington.