Pompey have now secured promotion so all that remains this season is to enjoy the final three games and continue celebrating with the fans. However much Paul Cook insists that Pompey are going to treat the last three matches like any other, I would be very surprised if we didn’t see some rotation with the lineups and some football which is more attacking than usual between now and the end of the season.
Cambridge are one of the sides still chasing play-offs and are currently one point off the top seven in ninth. The U’s have won three of their last four matches and go into the match at Fratton Park in good form, and will be confident considering their opponents have nothing to play for and have may still be a little the worse for wear from Monday.
One to watch:
Luke Berry has scored twenty goals this season and has been named in the PFA League Two Team of the Season in the past week. The midfielder has been the standout player in Cambridge’s team and they have a lot to thank him for in terms of their league position this season. He could have a field day on Saturday if the Blues’ defence is not in top form.
Cambridge will play a 4-2-3-1 system with Luke Berry playing in behind Uche Ikpeazu. Ikpeazu is a hulking striker who will cause Pompey plenty of problems, whereas Berry is more mobile and will be feeding off Ikpeazu’s knockdowns. The wide men will also pose a problem, with Medy Elito and Piero Mingoia having plenty of experience at this level.
We’ve seen you before…:
James Dunne was a popular character at Fratton Park and the combative midfielder will probably get a good reception tomorrow. Pompey fans felt a bit sorry for him last season as he was frozen out of the team for the first half of the campaign until the U’s came in for him. On the other hand, the Blues faithful never really warmed to Adam McGurk last term and he will find himself on the end some considerable derision if he comes on.
Pompey did what they aimed to do by putting together a good run of form at the perfect time of the season in order to get over the line and guarantee a top three spot. However, they will not be too bothered over whether they continue their form in the final three matches or whether they just coast to the end of the season.
As I said before, I would not be at all surprised if Paul Cook made some changes to his team this weekend. In his press conference he suggested that Matt Clarke and Danny Rose have recovered from injury in time to feature, while he also alluded to his desire to see the likes of Stanley Aborah and Nicke Kabamba feature. On the other hand, Kal Naismith could miss out after playing a lot of games in quick succession and then taking a knock to his ankle on Monday. Here is my predicted lineup:
I have a sneaky suspicion that Cambridge will come out on top tomorrow by a margin of three goals to one. However, the Blues will still be sure to revel in the first game back at Fratton Park since securing promotion and will be sure to enjoy the carnival atmosphere.
Ikpeazu was the star man in the reverse fixture for Cambridge and I doubt the defence will be able to deal with him any better when hungover. However, for Pompey I would guess that Jack Whatmough will shine after coming into the team against Notts County.