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Portsmouth vs Fleetwood Preview
Can Pompey batter the Cod Army?
Portsmouth host free spending Fleetwood Town tomorrow for the first ever meeting between the two clubs.
David Connolly is available again after his three match ban but Yassin Moutaouakil begins his suspension following his dismissal at Burton. Marcos Painter is fit again and new signing John Marquis is set for a place on the bench. Joe Devera is doubtful after limping off on Saturday so Bondz N'Gala could keep his place at centre back.
Gary Alexander has a fully fit squad to choose from and is likely to pick the same eleven that has won the last three games on the spin, although David Bell and Mark Roberts are pushing for recalls.
Guy Whittingham faces a number of selection dilemmas for tomorrow's match against third placed Fleetwood.
If Devera is fit to play, does he stick with the man he has had faith in all season or will he keep N'Gala in the team after his impressive showing at Burton last week?
With Moutaouakil banned but Painter now fit again, will the latter replace Danny East at left back and if so, will East be given a chance at right back or will Shaun Cooper be recalled to the side?
Whittingham's biggest problem will be wondering who to drop from the side in place of David Connolly, if anyone.
Should the Pompey manager decide to bring back arguably his most potent goal threat then he is going to have to drop one of his midfielders, but who?
Ricky Holmes has taken his chance in Connolly's absence and may well have been Portsmouth's best player in the last two games. Andy Barcham has arguably been Pompey's most consistent performer all season on the other flank so it would make no sense to drop him either.
Jed Wallace has been involved in creating some of Pompey's most recent goals and always tracks back as does Simon Ferry who also scored last week. Johnny Ertl probably won't be dropped as he is the captain and the only player who gives Pompey some steel in the centre of the park.
However, Guy surely cannot leave Connolly out of the side given how important he is to the team and will therefore have to drop someone. It's not an easy decision for him to make but at least it's a nice conundrum for him to have, for a change.
Fleetwood will be tough opposition and have plenty of players to keep an eye on. Steven Schumacher is capable of scoring goals from midfield, Antoni Sarsevic has caught the eye of bigger clubs already and Jeff Hughes is rated as one of the best wingers in the division.
The Cod Army supposedly play good football and like to pack the midfield so this could be a good game if neither side resorts to the hoof ball that more than a few League Two teams are culpable of.
And if Pompey can actually finish this game with eleven men on the pitch, then there's a fair chance of beating Fleetwood and getting this promotion push that the bookies have been bleating about on track.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: John SULLIVAN
RB: Danny EAST
CB: Bondz N'GALA
CB: Sonny BRADLEY
LB: Marcos PAINTER
RM: Ricky HOLMES
CM: Jed WALLACE
CM: Johnny ERTL
LM: Andy BARCHAM
CF: Patrick AGYEMANG
CF: David CONNOLLY
GK: Scott DAVIES
RB: Conor McLAUGHLIN
CB: Ryan CRESSWELL
CB: Mark ROBERTS
LB: Dean HOWELL
RM: Jeff HUGHES
CM: Steven SHUMACHER
CAM: Antoni SARCEVIC
CM: Stewart MURDOCH
LM: Junior BROWN
CF: Jamille MATT
Tough one to call as Pompey have improved but Fleetwood are of the same calibre as Oxford and Chesterfield who have already won at Fratton Park this season. A score draw is the most likely result.
Portsmouth 1 Fleetwood Town 1
Source: Fratton Faithful
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