AFC Wimbledon vs Portsmouth Preview
Two fan-owned clubs go toe-to-toe at Kingsmeadow.
Pompey will be looking to bounce back from the two cup defeats this week with a win against fellow fan-owned club AFC Wimbledon in League Two.
Yassin Moutaouakil, Simon Ferry and Patrick Agyemang are all expected to be fit for the trip to Kingsmeadow but Therry Racon remains doubtful. Jed Wallace returns from suspension but Gavin Mahon serves the second game of his ban.
Contrary to rumours, Ricardo Rocha will not return to Portsmouth as a player despite training with the club. There is still no news on Jake Jervis' move with a compensation compromise with his former club yet to be agreed.
Neil Ardley is likely to hand a second Dons debut to Kaid Mohamed whilst goalkeeper Ross Warner will return to the side after missing the FA Cup defeat by being stuck in traffic.
After the battling defeat to Stevenage in the FA Cup and a truly woeful performance in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Newport the "concentrate on the league" mantra could not be truer for Pompey who still have promotion in their sights.
Despite sitting in 16th place in League 2, Guy Whittingham's men are four points from the play-offs, six from automatic promotion and eight from the top with a game in hand on everyone else in the division barring Wycombe Wanderers, of course.
Wimbledon are a place and a point ahead of Portsmouth and had stuttered recently until their 2-1 win at Rochdale in their last league game. As has been said before, however, form tends to count for nothing in this division.
The Dons play some of the better football in League Two which should play into Pompey's hands if previous games are anything to go by. Exeter attempted to play pretty football and were thrashed until they started humping the ball up the pitch which caused the inevitable panic that almost ended in disaster.
It'll be interesting to see what team Whittingham picks after the dreadful showing in Wales on Tuesday. It's possible that former Wimbledon duo Agyemang and Connolly will be picked to start up front for the first time in months ahead of the useless Tom Craddock and Ryan Bird who has done little since his brace against Exeter.
Johnny Ertl is likely to come back into midfield with Ferry beside him and Wallace will surely come back into the team which means either Andy Barcham or Ricky Holmes being dropped to the bench. On form, the former should be the one to make way with Holmes arguably being our best performer in the last month or so.
The defence continues to be a worry but Rocha probably isn't the answer to fix it as he lacks the pace and the strength to cope in this division. If Guy was to bring back a former centre back it should be Sam Sodje who is far more suited to the League Two game.
As it stands, Pompey's full backs will continue to be a weakness no matter who plays there. Joe Devera is doing a steady job at left back but nothing more whilst there is little faith in Danny East or Moutouakil doing their defensive duties well enough to stop the crosses coming in.
Hopefully Bondz N'Gala and Sonny Bradley just had an off day on Tuesday as both have generally been solid in the past but there seems to be an inevitability that Pompey will concede anyway. You would also back the Blues to score so this should be an entertaining game decided by the odd goal.
It's just a shame that not very many Pompey fans will be at Kingsmeadow to watch it. Get down to Fratton Park and watch it on the big screen if you were unsuccessful in getting a ticket for this one.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Ross WARNER
RB: Barry FULLER
CB: Andy FRAMPTON
CB: Alan BENNETT
LB: Callum KENNEDY
RM: George FRANCOMBE
CM: Peter SWEENEY
CM: Sammy MOORE
CM: Harry PELL
LM: Kaid MOHAMED
CF: Michael SMITH
GK: Trevor CARSON
RB: Yassin MOUTAOUAKIL
CB: Bondz N'GALA
CB: Sonny BRADLEY
LB: Joe DEVERA
RM: Jed WALLACE
CM: Simon FERRY
CM: Johnny ERTL
LM: Ricky HOLMES
CF: Patrick AGYEMANG
CF: David CONNOLLY
The first competitive meeting between AFC Wimbledon and Pompey should be an entertaining one. Thankfully, Pompey don't usually follow up a terrible performance with another one and should bounce back, but the Dons are confident too. A draw is the most likely outcome.
AFC Wimbledon 2 Portsmouth 2
Source: Fratton Faithful
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