Portsmouth go into their match at the Hive on the back of successive home victories against Accrington Stanley and Blackpool. The latter performance, in particular, was very encouraging and Pompey will be looking to continue that momentum tomorrow.
Barnet are currently eleventh in League Two and are three points behind Mansfield in the last play-off spot. Barnet’s successes have been mainly down to their good home form, but it has tailed off recently as they have won just three of their last ten home games. The Bees will want to improve on their recent results as they have taken just five points from their last five matches.
One to watch:
The main man for Barnet is, undoubtedly, John Akinde. The striker is a great player at this level and has been free-scoring over the three season he has been at the club, and this season has been no different with Akinde registering 20 league goals already this term. The striker leads the League Two scoring charts after the departure of Omar Bogle from Grimsby so the Blues will know that stopping Akinde is key to any hopes of success.
Barnet will line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Akinde leading the line on his own, being supported by the attacking midfield three of Curtis Weston, Mauro Vilhete, and Ruben Bover Izquierdo. Barnet are well known for being a very physical side so spectators should be prepared for a scrappy game in which the ball does not spend very much time on the floor.
We’ve seen you before…:
Some Pompey fans may remember that, back in 2013, John Akinde actually had a loan spell with the Blues. However, he failed to make a positive impact and left the club after eleven appearances and no goals. He has since been given negative receptions when returning to play against Pompey, probably because he has a habit of scoring against the Blues.
Pompey’s form has picked up recently after consecutive league wins at Fratton Park. The away form has been less encouraging as, over the past five games, the Blues have won two, lost two and drawn one match. If Pompey can sort out their away form they can really start to put Carlisle under pressure in the last automatic promotion place.
The Blues have named the same side for the last two games, and the consistency has resulted in two wins. Therefore I do not expect Paul Cook to make any unforced changes to his side. Gareth Evans limped off on Tuesday night but Leam Richardson has expressed his confidence that the right-back will be fit to start on Saturday. On Wednesday Pompey also confirmed the signing of Stanley Aborah on a free transfer but Richardson also confirmed that he is not yet fit enough to play any part in tomorrow’s match.
The Blues came out as 5-1 winners when Barnet came to Fratton Park earlier in the season, but I would not expect the same kind of result tomorrow. I am predicting a narrow 1-0 win for the Blues in what will probably be a scrappy match.
Man of the match prediction:
On Tuesday the Blues won with a brilliant team performance in which there were not many stand out performers, but one player who I did think was key to the victory was Eoin Doyle. The forward never stopped running and was finally rewarded with a goal in the last minute, so I’m hoping for another workmanlike performance tomorrow.
First goalscorer prediction:
Last time Pompey played against Barnet Gary Roberts made the headlines for a spectacular goal where he left a defender on his back before firing the ball into the top corner. The midfielder has struggled of late, but I would not be surprised to see him break his goalscoring drought at the Hive tomorrow.