Marcus Braddock previews our trip to Fratton Park
This weekend, Shrewsbury Town have one of the longer journeys in League One this season when they travel Portsmouth. Pompey sit in second place in League One having won five games and drawn once, giving them sixteen points and a +9 goal difference.
Head to Head
Although Pompey have the better record in the games we have played, we've had the best of things in recent years with five wins in our last five games. Before that, Portsmouth won four in a row which takes us back to 1986. The first record of a game between Portsmouth and Shrewsbury Town was an F.A. Cup in January 1910 game Pompey progressed to the next round with a 3-0 home win.
In League One, Portsmouth have three goalscorers sharing eleven goals between them. Top Scorer is Ronan Curtis with five, second is Jamal Lowe with four and third is Gareth Evans with two.
Top scorer Curtis joined in closed season from Derry City and has scored his five goals in just six league games. His record with Derry was pretty prolific too with 17 goals in 22 league appearances.
We Meet Again...
Craig MacGillivray was our reserve keeper last season but still managed five clean sheets including our 1-0 win at Portsmouth. It's always a shame to see good players leave but having spent much of a season on the bench, I can understand why he left. So far this season he's been ever present between the sticks in League One for Portsmouth and has played a part in his teams three clean sheets.
The basic stats show that Portsmouth have four clean sheets to their name, three of which were recorded in their last three games. Broken down that's Tuesday's 4-0 win at home to Gillingham in the FL Trophy, a 3-0 home win last weekend against Plymouth and a 0-0 draw at Doncaster a week before that.
When they have conceded it's only been one goal and in home games they've only conceded once so far this season. They've only conceded three in the league all season but there does appear to be a pattern as all three were scored in the last fifteen minutes of their games.
Town may be without James Bolton and Abo Eisa but Josh Emmanuel will be available.
Portsmouth will have to do without top scorer Ronan Curtis who is on international duty.
This looks a really difficult game, two teams with massively different starts to the season. Portsmouth are looking like real contenders so far this season and the space between the two teams in the league one table would suggest a home win but there are a couple of factors that could tip things in our balance. The first is that top scorer Ronan Curtis will be missing and he's responsible for close to 50% of Pompey's goals this season. Admittedly they do have excellent replacements in Brett Pitman and David Wheeler, both of whom scored on Tuesday night against Gillingham.
Our form suggests to me that we are steadily turning things around and although we've yet to win, our four draws in five games are encouraging.
Having said all of that, I'm not kidding myself and realistically a draw would be a decent result against one of the form teams at a Fratton Park that's seen just the one league goal conceded. We are going to need an excellent performance throughout the game.