Pompey promotion watch: Saturday’s fixtures explained

Exeter boss Paul Tisdale Picture: Kirsty Edmonds

Exeter boss Paul Tisdale Picture: Kirsty Edmonds

Loyalty set to be Cook’s Pompey policy in League One

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Pompey head to sixth-placed Stevenage tomorrow knowing a win could take them nine points clear in League Two’s automatic promotion places.

Boro are currently sitting on 58 points, having lost against Blackpool in midweek – a result that ended a nine-game unbeaten run.

Despite this, though, Darren Sarll’s men, who are unbeaten at home in 2017, will pose a real threat to the Blues.

That win for the Tangerines pushed them further into play-off contention and they now sit on 54 points – just three off the top seven.

Gary Bowyer’s side are unbeaten in their past seven games and will be hoping to continue their good form away to a Newport side who are scrapping for their lives at the base of the table.

The biggest clash of the weekend comes at Kenilworth Road, where fifth-placed Luton (58 points) face an Exeter side who sit just one point behind them in seventh.

The Hatters are without a win in three, but they’ll fancy their chances against a Grecians side who have won just twice in their past eight outings.

From a Pompey perspective, fans will be hoping for a draw in this one, but Paul Cook has been quick to stress he is not focused on the teams below them.

The side directly below the Blues, in fourth, are Carlisle United (59).

The Cumbrians have been in terrible form and have just one point from their past five games.

They travel to a Mansfield side (52) who still harbour play-off hopes of their own.

But one win in five has left them five points of the top seven with nine games to play.

With the Stags stuttering, Colchester have moved into ninth place (54) – just three points off of of Exeter in seventh.

Despite taking a battering against Pompey last weekend, the U’s are in decent form and will be hoping a win away at 19th-placed Crewe can keep up the pressure on the teams above.

Above the Blues on 69 points are Plymouth, who currently sit second.

The Pilgrims are coming off the back of some tough fixtures having faced Luton, Carlisle, Blackpool, Mansfield and Wycombe in recent weeks, but Derek Adams’ men will be hoping that a trip to mid-table Morecambe can bring them a crucial three points.

At the top, high-flying Doncaster travel to bottom-of-th- table Leyton Orient.

The O’s are currently face a winding-up petition and have been having a terrible season on and off the pitch.

In contrast, Donny have been been in fine form and will be targeting three points.

– JACK WILLIAMS

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