Saturday was a good day all round for the Blues, as they now find themselves inside the top three by four points after they secured a convincing 4-0 away victory at the Colchester Community Stadium.  The challenge now is to maintain their league position with a good performance when they host Marcus Bignot’s Grimsby tomorrow night.

The opposition:

Recent form:
The Mariners will be disappointed to be down in 13th place at this stage of the season after they were firmly lodged in a play-off spot at about the halfway mark of the season.  However, they are still in with a shot of getting back into the play-offs, and sit four points behind Exeter at the moment.  Grimsby have been steady but unremarkable of late, and have won three and lost two of their last five matches, so they will need to improve if they are going to make a late burst into the top seven.

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One to watch:
Grimsby’s promotion hopes were badly damaged when their top scorer, Omar Bogle, left for Wigan on deadline day, so they have had to rely on goals from elsewhere since then.  Callum Dyson has been leading the line lately but has scored just three goals this season, making him their top scorer behind Bogle.  Sam Jones and Scott Vernon were the scorers at the weekend for the Mariners so the Blues’ defence will need to keep a close eye on both of them, as well as on Dyson.

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Tactics:
Grimsby are likely to come to Fratton Park in a 4-3-3 formation, and are likely to take the game to Pompey as they will need to pick up wins if they are to improve on their league position as the season draws to a close.  Hopefully the Mariners will come out and play for the win which should make for an exciting spectacle.

We’ve seen you before…:
Ben Davies won many of the supporters groups’ player of the season awards last season at Pompey and there was widespread disappointment when the right-back left Fratton Park to join Grimsby in the summer on the expiry of his contract.  He is sure to get a generous welcome if he plays, although he has found himself on the bench lately so might not make the starting eleven tomorrow night.

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Image courtesy of Derby County FC

Pompey:

Recent form:
Pompey have recovered perfectly from the awful loss against Crewe in the last home game by going on the road and getting two wins.  Over the course of those two games they have scored six goals and didn’t concede a single goal, so as long as the Blues can continue in the same way tomorrow they should have no problem.

Tactics:
I honestly can’t see Paul Cook making any changes to the team which won out at Colchester, as it would be very difficult to drop any of the players after that performance.  Kyle Bennett has scored two in two now, while Kal Naismith has picked up successive man of the match awards and Eoin Doyle got on the scoresheet versus Colchester, so it would be very harsh for any of them to lose their place.

Predictions:

Score prediction:
Paul Cook and Michael Doyle both mentioned in their post-match interviews that Pompey need to ensure that they do not fall into the same trap of failing to follow up a good away performance with a win at home.  Personally, I think they will learn from their past mistakes and secure a 2-0 win tomorrow night.

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Image courtesy of Pompey Wall

Man of the match prediction:
Kyle Bennett and Kal Naismith have both been in great form recently, and I am backing them both to continue that form against the Mariners.  Too often this season, none of the flair players have turned up for Pompey, but tomorrow I’m expecting both Bennett and Naismith to be at their best.

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