Stevenage vs Portsmouth Preview
Pompey face their toughest test yet.
Pompey face a difficult task to keep the recent excellent run of results going with a trip to Broadhall Way tomorrow evening.
Carl Dickinson is pencilled in to make his second debut for Pompey as Adam Webster is absent on England U-18 duty. Darel Russell is still injured but otherwise Michael Appleton has a full squad to choose from.
Stevenage midfielder Anthony Grant returns after serving his suspension but Patrick Aygemang is unlikely to feature as he is still building his fitness.
Pompey's good form is going to be put to the test at Stevenage tomorrow. Whilst Boro may play in a stadium that wouldn't look out of place in the conference, they are currently riding high in second place in League One.
This is mainly due to having a misly defence that doesn't give much away but also having the knack to pinch a goal and win tight games. Their 1-0 win at MK Dons on Saturday has surely confirmed them as promotion contenders.
However, Gary Smith's side will be up against one of the most in-form strike forces in the division. Izale McLeod is now the joint-top scorer in the division with eight goals whilst Wes Thomas is proving to be the perfect foil for him and has also found the net in Pompey's last two games.
The midfield also finally looks to have gelled together and is capable of creating plenty of chances. The only concern is that this team still only look capable of playing for 45 minutes after a poor first half against Shrewsbury on Saturday and the lack of pace at the back is still a concern, something that Dickinson's arrival will not remedy.
Still, I feel that Pompey can get a result at Broadhall Way. Colchester managed it so we should follow suit.
Click here for the League One Lowdown on Stevenage
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Steve ARNOLD
RB: David GRAY
CB: Darius CHARLES
CB: Mark ROBERTS
LB: Bondz N'GALA
RM: Lucas AKINS
CM: James DUNNE
CM: Luke FREEMAN
CM: Greg TANSEY
LM: Filipe MORAIS
CF: Marcus HABER
GK: Mikkel ANDERSEN
RB: Mustapha DUMBUYA
CB: Gabor GYEPES
CB: Lubor MICHALIK
LB: Carl DICKINSON
RM: Lee WILLIAMSON
CM: Johnny ERTL
CM: Brian HOWARD
LM: Akos BUZSAKY
CF: Izale McLEOD
CF: Wes THOMAS
Last Time: Stevenage 1 Portsmouth 2 (League Cup First Round - 09/08/2010)
Nadir Ciftci gave Pompey an early lead after he headed in Matt Ritchie's cross but Darren Murphy equalised when his shot was deflected past Jamie Ashdown by Joel Ward.
Michael Brown's diving header restored Portsmouth's lead and Steve Cotterill's men safely navigated the rest of the game with little discomfort.
Stevenage lost their last home game against Colchester and their previous result at Broadhall Way was a 2-2 draw with lowly Bury. On the other hand, their last two wins were at MK Dons and Notts County and so I will plump for a draw.
Stevenage 1 Portsmouth 1
Source: Fratton Faithful
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