Take a closer look at the latest stats and facts in our match preview ahead of Salop’s Sky Bet League One fixture against Portsmouth.
Portsmouth v Shrewsbury Town
Tuesday 17th August – 7.45pm kick-off
Sky Bet League One
Portsmouth enter tomorrow night’s fixgure being unbeaten in the league, and despite it being early days, the south coast outfit have a point to prove in climbing back up the ranks of the EFL. The new season marks a new era for the club, with managerial duo Danny and Nicky Cowley starting their first full season at Fratton Park.
The Cowley brothers are a familiar name amongst Town fans, one that may leave a sour taste. The two were managers of Lincoln City during their EFL trophy run of 2017/18, meeting Salop in the final at Wembley. As many Town fans will remember, it was a victory in the red side of the corner, with Lincoln and the Cowley’s earning themselves promotion to League One in that same year.
A short stint at Huddersfield led the two to Fratton Park, leading Pompey to an eight-place finish last year, just two points shy from the play-offs – a territory the club will have their eyes set upon throughout this season. With regards to this season, Portsmouth’s form thus far has been convincing, and despite a 2-1 loss to Millwall in the Carabao Cup, they’ve started their league campaign with two wins from two. Wins against Fleetwood and Crewe Alexandra respectively have left them second in the table, level with leaders Wycombe.\
Town’s opening Carabao Cup win against Lincoln showed the fight Salop fans have become familiar with under manager Steve Cotterill. Impressive results against the likes of Hull, Lincoln and Sunderland show that Town are more than capable of taking a strong result home with them.
Name: Portsmouth Football Club
Founded: 1898 (123 years ago)
Chairman/Owner: Michael Eisner/The Tornante Company
Biggest win: 9-1 vs. Notts County, Division Two, 9th April 1927
Biggest defeat: 0-10 vs. Leicester City, Division One, 20th October 1928
Highest League finish: 1st, Division One, 1948-49
Goalkeeper: Gavin Bazunu
Gavin Bazunu joined Pompey this summer on-loan from current Premier League champions Manchester City. Despite the ‘keeper’s young age, he is no stranger to first team football in the EFL, having played 29 times for Rochdale last season in League One – keeping four clean sheets.
Starting his season with a clean sheet against Crewe Alexandra, Bazunu has shown what he’s capable of, appearing for the Republic of Ireland national team on multiple occasions whilst even being tipped as No.1 ahead of future international breaks. Bazunu is recognised for his confidence in goal, as well as with his feet, with manager Cowley highlighting recently how he can be “a real protagonist in our attacking play, despite wearing number one” – so expect the Irishman to set a high line on Tuesday night.
Defender: Clark Robertson
Clark Robertson is yet another newcomer to Fratton Park, having recently signed from Rotherham in July. Starting his career at Aberdeen, the 27-year-old rose through the academy and became a first team regular before his move to Blackpool in 2015 – where he played 137 times.
With a plethora of first team experience, it was clear the Cowley’s looked at Robertson as a leader and role model within the team, appointing him as captain despite him only joining a short while ago. The Scotsman’s physicality is felt at both ends of the pitch and can be an aerial threat when called upon. So far, the defender has seemed to fit in well to Cowley’s system, and has given reason to him being awarded captaincy so early on in his time at Fratton Park, keeping two clean sheets from two in the league.
Midfielder: Marcus Harness
Hailing from Coventry, Marcus Harness has appeared to really find his feet in a Portsmouth shirt. Joining in 2019 from Burton Albion, the winger struggled to make his mark amongst the Burton XI and has since made more appearances in his two years on the south coast than he did during his six at the Pirelli Stadium – in which he was sent out on loan three times. He stood out against his former club last season, scoring a hat-trick in October of 2020.
Since progressing into a more attacking role, Harness has undoubtedly developed under the Cowley’s into a role that kept him at the centre of a lot in the final third. Achieving his ten-goal target from last season, the 25-year-old will be one to watch - especially after his bright start to this season – scoring last weekend against Crewe Alexandra.
Striker: John Marquis
John Marquis is a name many will recognise in the EFL, and one Steve Cotterill’s side will have marked down as a key player to look out for. Known for his goalscoring threat, the striker moved from Doncaster Rovers to Portsmouth in 2019.
But despite his reputation, the striker’s performance has fluctuated at times, with Saturday’s game against Crewe more or less encapsulating that. After a rather uninfluential first-half, some labelling his efforts ‘poor’, the striker eventually found the net which no doubt gave him the confidence he needs to become Pompey’s star man in front of goal. This season will be key for the former Doncaster frontman, as he looks to replicate the form that earnt him a move away from Keepmoat.
Referee: TREVOR KETTLE
Assistants: Ryan Whitaker and Michael Chard
Fourth Official: Craig Hicks