Pompey go into their game on Saturday on the back of a somewhat disappointing result at home to Morecambe on Tuesday night.  The Blues were only able to draw against the Shrimps but were unlucky not to secure all three points as they created more than enough chances to win but simply weren’t clinical enough.  The strikers will need to be more efficient on Saturday to get Pompey back to winning ways.

The opposition:

Recent form:
The Railwaymen haven’t had the most successful season so far and are in a relegation dogfight, currently in 20th.  Crewe’s last game did not go down well with their supporters, losing 4-0 at fellow strugglers, Hartlepool, on Tuesday night.  However, one thing that Crewe can be relied upon for is to produce very exciting games, with their last ten games having seen 33 goals scored.

One to watch:
George Cooper and Alex Kiwomya are key figures for the Railwaymen on each wing and have each registered seven goals so far this term.  Their wide men pose the main goal threat, which is a big reason why they are struggling as their main striker, Jordan Bowery, has failed to score a single goal this season despite having been prolific Oxford last season.  The Blues defence will need to be aware of the threat from out wide on Saturday if they are to keep a clean sheet.

Tactics:
Crewe are yet another team who like to line up with a 4-2-3-1 system.  Jordan Bowery leads the line and Billy Bingham, George Cooper, and Alex Kiwomya support him.  However, particularly after the heavy defeat in midweek, David Artell could choose to set up in a more defensive way to solve the recent defensive issues.  This could see Crewe keeping men behind the ball and playing in a less adventurous way.

We’ve seen you before…:
Danny Hollands was a popular figure at Fratton Park last season and people were disappointed when he left on a free transfer at the end of the season.  He moved to Crewe after his contract expired in the summer, but it is likely that he would have been given an extension if he hadn’t been injured in last season’s play-off semi-final.  Hollands would have received a warm reception on Saturday from the home supporters but has unfortunately been ruled out through injury.

Pompey:

Recent form:
Pompey are on a good run at the moment, and are unbeaten in their last five games.  They have won three and drawn two of these matches and will be keen to continue this run as they continue their assault on third place.  They are just two points off Carlisle with a game in hand, and it is important that they are in a position to capitalise on any slip-ups the Cumbrians make between now and the end of the season.

Tactics:
The only change I can see to the team which drew against Morecambe on Tuesday is Amine Linganzi.  The Congolese midfielder limped off on Tuesday night with a slight groin injury and he will be racing to try and get back to fitness in time for tomorrow’s match.  I think Paul Cook will err on the side of caution and replace Linganzi with Danny Rose in the starting eleven.  This is my predicted lineup:

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Predictions:

Score prediction:
The Blues were unable to get past the Railwaymen when they played in August, but I’m expecting Pompey to secure a big win this time around.  I’m going for a 3-0 win to the hosts tomorrow with an early goal opening the floodgates.

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Image courtesy of Portsmouth FC

Man of the match prediction:
The honeymoon period is starting to ware off for Eoin Doyle after his deadline day move to the South Coast from Preston.  He has scored once so far but some of the less patient fans are already starting to question whether he is as good a player as he is cracked up to be.  I’m hoping for him to prove to all his doubters that he truly is a great player at this level with a great performance this weekend.

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