With promotion all but assured for both sides, all that is left now is to try and secure the bragging rights between two sides who, even though they are separated by 170 miles, share one of football’s modern rivalries after several tasty affairs in the last couple of seasons.

The opposition:

Recent form:
Argyle sit four point above the Blues in second place and, as you would expect, have been on good form of late.  They have suffered just one defeat from their last six matches and have beaten the league leaders, Doncaster Rovers, at the Keepmoat in the last couple of weeks.  Argyle have are certainly a force to be reckoned with in League Two and could even win promotion if they better the results of Luton and Stevenage on Saturday.

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One to watch:
Derek Adams has no shortage of talent available to him, but the man Pompey will have to keep the closest eye on is Graham Carey.  The attacking midfielder was, in my opinion, very unlucky not to win the League Two Player of the Year award, and it is nothing short of a disgrace that he did not even get nominated for the award.  Carey is the main playmaker in the Plymouth side and keeping him quiet will be key to the Blues getting anything out of the match.

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Tactics:
Plymouth are likely to line up similarly to Pompey, with a 4-2-3-1 system in which the three advanced midfielders will be happy to rotate to keep the defenders guessing.  The main difference  between the systems will be that Argyle will be led by a recognised striker in Ryan Taylor, who will play as a target man, holding up the ball and bringing the advanced midfielders into play.

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Image courtesy of Plymouth Argyle FC

We’ve seen you before…:
It is difficult to predict who will get the worst reception tomorrow, as Pompey fans are all too familiar with many of the Pilgrims’ players.  On second thoughts, Luke McCormick will undoubtedly get the worst reception, but neither Sonny Bradley nor Ryan Taylor will get off scot-free.  Bradley has come into his own at the back for Plymouth this season but never showed his quality while he was at Fratton Park, while Taylor was a fairly popular figure when he was at Pompey, though that will not stop the forward coming in for some ‘friendly’ heckling from sections of the crowd.

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Pompey:

Recent form:
Pompey have finally put together the great run they have been looking for for the past two seasons which has seen them rise up into the automatic promotion positions, where they are now eight points clear of fourth.  The Blues have taken 18 points from the last available 21 and will be desperate to close the gap between themselves and Argyle to just one point with a win tomorrow.

Tactics:
Last weekend saw Paul Cook opt to use Kal Naismith as a lone striker instead of Conor Chaplin, with Gary Roberts in support.  However, Chaplin was brought on for Roberts early in the second half so it will be interesting to see whether the manager sticks with Naismith as the main striker or whether he opts for a more recognised frontman in Chaplin.  Personally I think Naismith will be given another opportunity to lead the line as Roberts has a good record against Plymouth and also has a tendency to show up in big games, so Cook will be keen to keep him in the starting lineup.  Here is my predicted starting eleven:

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Predictions:

Score prediction:
Games between Pompey and the Pilgrims always seem to be close affairs, with the sides each having won one match 2-1, one game being a draw, and one game finishing 1-0 to Plymouth (but we don’t talk about that) over the past season.  I am going for another tight match this time, but unfortunately I can see the visitors coming out on top at Fratton Park tomorrow.  I’m going for a 2-1 win for Plymouth.

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Image courtesy of Portsmouth FC

Key man:
Recently Kal Naismith has been key for Pompey and, if he can continue his great form – especially as a striker – Pompey will have every chance of coming away from the match with something.  O the other side of the coin, Graham Carey will undoubtedly be key to proceedings and will be the catalyst for the Pilgrims.

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