Portsmouth vs Newport Preview
The Richie Barker revolution begins.
Richie Barker begins his Portsmouth tenure with a match against a team whose manager was also coveted by Pompey in Justin Edinburgh.
Despite suffering a nasty neck injury during the 2-2 draw with Wycombe, Danny East may be fit to play tomorrow. Tom Craddock is still out but Patrick Agyemang and David Connolly are fit again.
Newport suffered a few injuries in their 3-0 defeat to Peterborough in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy as goalkeeper Jamie Stephens tore his hamstring and Tom Naylor and Andrew Hughes were also taken off with injuries during that match.
This will be a tough start for Richie Barker's management career at Portsmouth as Newport are upwardly mobile in the league and have already beaten Pompey easily in the JPT last month.
The team selection will be interesting after the new gaffer cancelled the players' day off on Wednesday to get more time to look at them. Will Jack Whatmough keep his place in the team after his poor performance against Southampton in that harrowing 7-0 defeat in the FA Youth Cup?
Barker knows Shaun Cooper from his Crawley days whilst Trevor Carson was his goalkeeper at Bury so those two are likely to start simply because he knows those players better than the rest of his squad.
Agyemang and Connolly will surely start if both are fit but attempting to name the back four and the midfield in front of them is tricky. It's doubtful there will be too many changes but there may be one or two decisions that raise eyebrows. Players such as Marcos Painter and Yassin Moutaouakil could be given a chance having been left out in the cold, so to speak.
As for the opposition, there is more than a fair chance of beating them. The Exiles were knocked out of the FA Cup by Conference side Kidderminister last Saturday and don't tend to score many goals away from home in the league.
Pompey will be expected to start on the front foot with the new manager in place and what will hopefully be a loud crowd behind them and so if they can score an early goal then there could be a case for the team to run rampant like they have done in the past this season with a renewed confidence installed by the new manager.
The importance of this fixture with regards to league standings cannot be understated as another defeat will see Pompey fans begin to worry about a possible relegation battle but a win will have people believing that the season isn't dead yet.
Let's hope Richie Barker becomes the first Pompey manager to win his debut match since Paul Hart on Valentine's Day in 2009 when Manchester City were beaten 2-0.
Play Up Pompey!
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Trevor CARSON
RB: Shaun COOPER
CB: Joe DEVERA
CB: Sonny BRADLEY
LB: Dan POTTS
RM: Jed WALLACE
CM: Simon FERRY
CM: Johnny ERTL
LM: Andy BARCHAM
CF: Patrick AGYEMANG
CF: David CONNOLLY
GK: Lenny PIDGELEY
RB: David PIPE
CB: Ryan JACKSON
CB: Tom NAYLOR
LB: Andrew HUGHES
RM: Conor WASHINGTON
CM: Robbie WILMOTT
CM: Andy SANDELL
LM: Adam CHAPMAN
CF: Danny CROW
CF: Christian JOLLEY
Last Time: Portsmouth1 Newport County 2 (Division Three - 25/09/1982)
Alan Biley's goal was not enough to get a result for Bobby Campbell's men at Fratton Park but it would be a blip as Pompey won the Division Three title that season.
Hopefully the new gaffer has had enough time to influence his players and with Newport having a few bad results recently and generally not travelling too well, this could be a debut win for Richie Barker.
Portsmouth 2 Newport County 1
Source: Fratton Faithful
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