Pompey head into their final match of the season, and their last game in League Two for at least a year, with everything still to play for. The league title remains in the balance, with three teams being in with a chance of coming out on top. The state of affairs at present sees Plymouth leading the pack, one point ahead of Doncaster, who are one point above Pompey.
The Robins secured their League Two safety last week when they beat Hartlepool in a relegation six-pointer, mathematically guaranteeing their survival while putting their opponents’ future into jeopardy. Things could hardly have turned out better in that match for Pompey as Cheltenham are now safe in 20th and effectively have nothing to play for.
One to watch:
Cheltenham have to thank the likes of Billy Waters and Danny Wright for escaping relegation, as the two strikers have both scored key goals over the course of the campaign. However, a man who I feel has made equal contributions to the forward is Harry Pell, who has been a rock at the back as well as chipping in with a few goals, including some wickedly struck set pieces.
Cheltenham have come up from the National League recently, and so it is not surprising that they tend to line up in a 4-4-2 system. They normally rotate between 4-4-2 and 4-4-1-1, with Waters dropping off Wright when the team is under the cosh. Hopefully the visitors will make a real game of it tomorrow as they have nothing to lose so will look to end their season with a good spectacle.
We’ve seen you before…:
Cheltenham do not have any players at present who have previously turned out for the Blues, but I do recognise some names in their squad. This is not least because the likes of Alex Cooper and Kyle Wooton have made many an appearance for me on Football Manager 2017.
Ever since the 1-0 defeat to Crewe Alexandra at Fratton Park in March, the Blues have been in inspired form and have lost just one game. Nine victories and a draw have followed in the eleven matches since that dismal performance and Paul Cook’s side seem in no danger of falling away.
I would be surprised to see any changes to the eleven which won out at Mansfield, and that would see the likes of Conor Chaplin and Danny Rose retain their starting berths. There is no chance of Pompey resting up ahead of such an important game, so this is the strong team which I expect to take the field tomorrow.
The Blues show no signs of falling away in their great winning run. I’m going to go for a fairly comfortable 3-0 victory for the Blues and am not expecting Cheltenham to put up too much of a fight tomorrow evening.
Kal Naismith has been in inspired form recently and I am backing him to grab a goal tomorrow. However, it seems written in the stars that Conor Chaplin will score his first goal in a while in front of the Pompey fans. I’m expecting him to be man of the match tomorrow and to put in a great performance.
League title prediction:
The League Two title can go any of three ways tomorrow, but unfortunately I’m not expecting the trophy to be making its way to the South Coast. Plymouth are currently ahead in the race so they have to be favourites as they play against Grimsby, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it will be Doncaster who pip them to the post. Rovers travel to Hartlepool who are very close to relegation so one would expect them to get three points, while Grimsby will be doing their utmost to spoil Plymouth’s party.
While I cannot see the Blues winning the league, that must not overshadow the fact that this season has been an unqualified success and that promotion was the only aim going into the campaign. Whatever happens with regards to the league title come 7:30 tomorrow, Pompey fans must turn out and applaud their side as they undertake their end of season lap of honour.