Pompey once again have the chance to move into the automatic promotion places when they travel to Crawley tomorrow night for their rearranged League Two tie. The Blues also had the chance to do so on Saturday but a 1-0 home defeat to Crewe robbed them of that opportunity. A reaction is necessary for Pompey to get their promotion challenge back on track.
When Pompey were due to travel to the Checkatrade.com Stadium earlier in the season before the match was called off for a frozen pitch, Crawley were stuck at the bottom of League Two. However, just under two months later they have put together a decent run of form and the Red Devils are now up to 16th place. Arguably it is not the best time to play the rearranged game and Pompey will need to be careful.
One to watch:
James Collins is the standout man on the Crawley team sheet by a country mile, and has registered 16 league goals already this season. The powerful striker has been prolific wherever he has gone throughout his career and that looks set to continue as he looks to score over 20 goals in a season once again.
Crawley come into the match on the back of a home game against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday in which they ground out a goalless draw. During that match they kept ten men behind the ball throughout the 90 minutes and I think they could well try the same again against another promotion chasing side.
We’ve seen you before…:
None of the Crawley players have enjoyed a spell at Fratton Park, with them having a comparatively young side for this league. However, a man to keep an eye on is Glenn Morris, who managed to save two penalties on Saturday.
Pompey’s old inconsistencies showed themselves this weekend, as they went five matches unbeaten before losing at home to a poor Crewe side at the weekend. It is just typical that they would secure a supposedly season-defining victory at Carlisle in a promotion six-pointer before taking only a single point from successive home games against bottom half clubs.
My predicted lineup is somewhat different to the side I would like to see come out at Crawley. Realistically I can’t see Cook changing things and it is likely that Pompey will make no more than a couple of changes, if any. However, if I was in charge I would line up with a somewhat different team, with Drew Talbot, Danny Rose, Jamal Lowe, and Noel Hunt coming into the side. This would see Amine Linganzi, Kal Naismith, Gary Roberts, and Eoin Doyle dropping out. This is the side I would like to see:
To be completely honest, if Pompey come back from Sussex with anything less than a win I will seriously doubt whether automatic promotion is a realistic possibility. Having said that, I am hoping the Blues will grind out a 1-0 win to silence their doubters – for the moment at least.
Man of the match prediction:
I am expecting a very scrappy game tomorrow night which would suggest that none of the attacking players will put in standout performances. Therefore I am going for Enda Stevens as my pick for man of the match. The left-back was the only player who can honestly say he had a decent game on Saturday and hopefully he can continue his decent form against Crawley.