Plymouth v Pompey: Big Match preview

Mark McNulty celebrates hism opener against Plymouth in the first leg

Mark McNulty celebrates hism opener against Plymouth in the first leg

Christian Burgess. Picture: Joe Pepler

Defender’s Pompey League One promotion promise

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Pompey travel to Plymouth for the second leg of their League Two play-off with Plymouth today.

Here’s all you need to know ahead of the game.

Pompey team news

Matt Clarke and Conor Chaplin are facing a race against time to be fit for Plymouth.

Clarke has resumed training after a groin problem, but Paul Cook has to decide if he’s ready for a game of the intensity of tomorrow’s showdown.

Chaplin has been struggling with a glute problem, but is hopeful of a return. Adam Webster (foot) out.

Ryan Allsop will continue with Pompey’s keepers all injured.

Marc McNulty and Kyle Bennett made their returns on Thursday and both men came through the game unscathed. Pompey have no new injury problems.

Plymouth team news

Jamille Matt has been cleared to face Pompey, despite his off-the-ball incident with Pompey skipper Michael Doyle.

Plymouth’s two-goal hero was caught on television cameras headbutting the Blues midfielder – an incident missed by referee Oliver Langford.

The FA, though, decided against taking retrospective action that would have led to a ban for the in-form striker.

Pilgrims boss Derek Adams has no new injury concerns from Thursday night’s entertaining 2-2 draw.

Likely line-ups

Pompey: Ryan Allsop, Ben Davies, Christian Burgess, Adam Barton, Enda Stevens, Danny Hollands, Michael Doyle, Gareth Evans, Gary Roberts, Kyle Bennett, Marc McNulty. Subs: Matt Clarke, Brandon Haunstrup, Ben Close, Kal Naismith, Adam McGurk, Conor Chaplin, Conor Wilkinson

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Plymouth: Luke McCormick, Kelvin Mellor, Curtis Nelson, Peter Hartley, Gary Sawyer, Carl McHugh, Hiram Boateng, Jake Jervis, Graham Carey, Gregg Wylde, Jamille Matt. Subs: Vincent Dorel, Tyler Harvey, Ben Purrington, Reuben Reid, Louis Rooney, Jordan Forster, Jordan Houghton

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Referee: Paul Tierney (Wigan)

Match odds

Pompey to win: 13/8

Plymouth to win: 6/4

Draw: 23/10

Pompey stats

Top scorers: Marc McNulty (12), Conor Chaplin (11), Gary Roberts (10)

Most assists: Enda Stevens (12), Kyle Bennett (11), Marc McNulty (8)

Most appearances: Enda Stevens (52), Kyle Bennett (50), Ben Davies (50)

Plymouth stats

Top scorers: Jake Jervis (14), Graham Carey (12), Ryan Brunt (10)

Most assists: Graham Carey (12) Kelvin Mellor, Jake Jervis, Gregg Wylde (all seven)

Most appearances: Curtis Nelson (52), Gregg Wylde (49), Peter Hartley, Gary Sawyer, Jake Jervis (all 48)

Gaffer for a day – Tony Brooks

Our away form has been brilliant this season.

That’s why I think we have the edge over Plymouth going into the second leg of the play-offs tomorrow.

Thursday’s game was an excellent advert for League Two, and it was worth queueing up for tickets from 1am on Sunday to be there.

I’ve watched the game back since and I still don’t know how the referee hasn’t seen Jamille Matt’s headbutt Michael Doyle – he’s looking straight at it.

In fact, Plymouth should have been down to eight men.

There’s no doubt Marc McNulty’s was a clear goalscoring opportunity and Peter Hartley should’ve been sent off.

And the tackle on Danny Hollands was late and high. Kieron Freeman was sent off for less against Northampton last weekend.

The referees should come from a higher level for the play-offs because they have to be able to handle the occasion.

I thought Paul Cook got the selection decisions spot on.

McNulty and Gary Roberts link up superbly and McNulty and Kyle Bennett came off at the right time to save them for the second leg.

Cook was bang on in his interview after the game. He said he backs his team with passion and the cameras would tell the story over the headbutt.

In terms of team selection, I would keep it pretty much the same as it was for the first leg.

The only change I would make is Brian Murphy or Paul Jones coming in for Ryan Allsop, if they are fit.

I went to Plymouth for the away game earlier in the season and we put in a superb performance.

That’s why my money is on us to win 3-1 and make it to Wembley.

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