Marcus Braddock looks ahead to the weekends game
Next up in Sky Bet League One is high flying Portsmouth who occupy fourth place in the division. They've been in the top places for pretty much the whole year and are in good form as the final weeks of the season swing into view. The chances are that we're a must win game on their fixture list as they look to glean as many points at they can. Their form has obviously been good for them to be so highly placed but they did have a little dip in form from the end of January to the end of February. However, a dip for Portsmouth this season amounts to one defeat followed by five draws, so they were still picking up points. Their last five games have seen them beat Scunthorpe (2-0) and Bradford (5-1) at home and Walsall (2-3) away, beaten by Charlton (2-0) away and held 0-0 by Barnsley. So it looks like they aren't unbeatable away and although their recent defeats have been against teams in the top ten they've also been beaten at home and away in League One by Gillingham. Maybe we should do whatever they did! Pompey have also done well in the cup competitions and have a Wembley final next weekend in the CheckaTrade Trophy. Might they have half an eye on that this weekend? Nobody wants to get injured the week before a cup final and these things sometimes have an impact but Manager Kenny Jackett has more than enough experience to counter that sort of thinking.
Form (League one)
Top Scorers (league one)
Jamal Lowe 12
Ronan Curtis 11
Gareth Evans 9
Ronan Curtis 8
Jamal Lowe 6
Clean Sheets (League One)
Seven at home and three away. Last clean sheet Sat March 16th. Last away clean sheet November 3rd.
Pompey have the best away record in Skybet League One with ten wins on the road, over 50% of their away games so far. That gives them an average of 1.8 points and 1.74 goals per game, both well above the league average. They also concede less than the league average with 1.3 against an average of 1.4. They score marginally more goals in the first half with 52% and their best period of the game in terms of goals scored is the last fifteen minutes of the first half with 8 scored. However, as is often the case, they have also conceded seven in that period, possibly because you're more vulnerable to counter attack when you're trying to score. Pompey's worst period of the game in terms of goals with nine conceded is the last 15 minutes, more than 50% of all their away goals in the second half.
Referee - Ollie Yates. Games this season: 33. Yellow cards 123. Red cards: 5.
James Bolton, Luke Waterfall and Ro-Shaun Williams have question marks over their inclusion this weekend. Ryan Sears is on international duty with Wales U21s.
Defensive changes may dictate this one depending on who does or doesn't play and how they perform. Portsmouth are going to be difficult to beat as they march forward but putting them off their stride won’t be impossible. Last week I said it was vital to get an early goal and we won with two late goals so although it might be handy, we do know we can dig out a result. We're also against a team that's conceded a few in the last minutes of games so if we can keep things tight, we may be rewarded in the end.