Pompey will go into their midweek match at home to Morecambe tomorrow in high spirits after what is, undoubtedly, the best result of the season at the weekend. After the 3-0 win at Blundell Park on Saturday the gap between the Blues and the automatic promotion places is just three points, with Pompey also having a game in hand over Carlisle. However, that win will mean nothing if the Blues can’t press home their advantage with a result against the Shrimpers tomorrow night.
Morecambe have been on brilliant form recently and have lost just one of their last ten matches. When you consider the problems the club are facing at the moment, with staff and players not being paid every week, they are performing miracles to be in a solid mid-table position in 13th place.
One to watch:
Morecambe lost a couple of their star men recently, with Jamie Devitt leaving in the summer, and now Tom Barkhuizen leaving to Preston North End in January. Now the Shrimpers’ hopes lie with their remaining players, none of whom are as big names as the aforementioned midfielders. The goals have been fairly evenly shared among the team this season, with Paul Mullin chipping in with some important goals, while Lee Molyneaux was the scorer in their most recent win over Grimsby.
Jim Bentley usually lines up with a 4-2-3-1 system and Morecambe are not known for their flowing football. Therefore we can expect them to play a direct style when they come to Fratton Park, although they came out to try and win the game when they visited last season, racing to an early 3-0 lead, so hopefully they will come out and make the game a good spectacle.
We’ve seen you before…:
There are no names in the Morecambe ranks who have plied their trade at Fratton Park in recent years, but one name who will stick in the memory of Blues fans is Barry Roche, who managed to score a last gasp equaliser when Pompey went to Morecambe last season – despite the fact he was playing in goal.
Pompey’s form is starting to look a whole lot better after Saturday, and they are now unbeaten in their last five league games. However, we have seen several times over the last few years when Pompey have failed to follow up a good result with another win, so it is imperative that Pompey now push on.
I’m expecting Pompey to name an unchanged side for the Morecambe game after the victory on Saturday. Although Pompey changed formation to a 3-5-2 system midway through the Carlisle match I wouldn’t expect the Blues to change their tactics unless things go badly wrong.
Unfortunately I am expecting to see the Blues fall on their swords against Morecambe, although they could still get a point. After being forced to get the train back from Carlisle due to the team coach breaking down, there may be a slow start for Paul Cook’s side, so I’m predicting them to go a couple of goals behind early on but to come back to secure a point. I’m going for a 2-2 draw.
Man of the match prediction:
Gary Roberts finally returned to scoring form against the Cumbrians and looked back to his best when he scored his goal, beating two players before curling the ball into the top corner of the net. I would not be surprised to see him create a couple of goals, just a he did against the Shrimpers last season and show that he truly has got his creative spark back.
First goalscorer prediction:
Paul Mullin has been one of the better players for Morecambe this season and I can see that continuing on Tuesday night. I can see him snatching both goals for Morecambe and putting the Blues defence to the sword early on.