Marcus Braddock looks ahead to the visit of Pompey
Portsmouth have certainly had an interesting season so far, one that took a little time to get up to speed and one that may have been a little frustrating at times. The season started well enough with a home win against Rochdale but then Pompey fans saw their team go without a league win for four games. An away win at Wimbledon in early September started an alternate lose/win sequence for eight games, followed by a couple of wins. Then, in mid October Portsmouth went on a four game losing sequence, just when they seemed to be gathering some inertia. Recently though, Pompey have won seven games in the last eight in all competitions or five league wins in six league games. Their last away win was two games ago at Charlton and they have won two out of their last five away games.
Far and away the top goalscorer this season for Pompey is Brett Pitman with twelve goals in sixteen games in League one. The 29 year old striker has spent much of his career on the south coast with Bournemouth and has also spent time with Bristol City and Ipswich. He joined Portsmouth in July of this year and scored a brace on his league debut and has scored three more since then, meaning he's scored in fifty percent of his league games this season.
Matthew Kennedy 3
Jamal Lowe 2
Gareth Evans 2
Pompey have had plenty of clean sheets and worryingly they've had clean sheets in their last three League One games.
In away games this season Portsmouth have scored plenty of goals but it's surprising that they've only scored once in the first half of away games this season. The first half an hour of away games involving Pompey this season has been goal free. In their favour, the first half is the most defensively tight half with just eight goals conceded away from home. Four of those goals came in the first fifteen games with another three scored in the fifteen before half time.
The second half is where they seem to come alive with ten goals scored in the second half of away games. That breaks down to six in the first fifteen minutes of the second half and another four in the closing fifteen minutes although they didn't score any in the middle fifteen minutes. They also concede more goals in the second half with seven conceded in the first half an hour.
Kenny Jackett will be without the services of midfielder Stuart O'Keefe who suffered an Abductor muscle strain in their last game against Bury.
Darren Handley from Lancashire. Games this season: 22 yellow cards: 65. Red cards: 3.
Assistants: Joe Clark and Mark Cunliffe.
Fourth Official: Gary Hilton.
This was one of the games I worried about at the start of the season after some significant investment from ex-Disney chief Michael Eisner. They had a quiet start but as I thought they would, they're travelling up the table at an alarming rate with the bit between their teeth. They've looked OK away from home but this will hopefully be a real test for them and one I hope they will fail. As I may have mentioned in previous games, my family is from the Portsmouth area and are all big fans and my uncle Barry always says that Portsmouth never get much out of Shrewsbury so fingers crossed!