Pompey v Reading Under-23s: Big-match preview

Former AFC Portchester striker Andy Rinomhota was signed by the Royals in 2015. Picture: Neil Marshall
Former AFC Portchester striker Andy Rinomhota was signed by the Royals in 2015. Picture: Neil Marshall
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

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Have your say

Here’s all the big-match information ahead of tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy game at Fratton Park.

Likely line-ups

Pompey: Liam O’Brien, Adam Buxton, Jack Whatmough, Tom Davies, Brandon Haunstrup, Milan Lalkovic, Ben Close, Adam May, Kyle Bennett, Michael Smith, Curtis Main. Subs: Alex Bass, Amine Linganzi, Noel Hunt, Matt Clarke, Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Formation: 4-4-2

Reading Under-23s: Anssi Jaakkola, Tennai Watson, Gabriel Osho, Tom McIntyre, Shane Griffin, Harrison Bennett, Andy Rinomhota, Jake Sheppard, Sandro Wieser, Joseph Mendes, Jake Taylor. Subs: Tyler Frost, Jack Stacey, Tarique Fosu, Harry Cardwell, Joe Tupper.

Formation: 4-4-2

Team news

Pompey: Paul Cook will again make widespread changes to his side for the Checkatrade Trophy.

The Blues boss is keen to give match minutes to those not currently involved in the first team.

That means there are likely to be at least 10 alterations to the side which lined up against Doncaster at the weekend.

Jack Whatmough, Brandon Haunstrup, Adam Buxton, Liam O’Brien and Ben Close are among those set to be given opportunities to impress

Noel Hunt yesterday returned to training following injury and will be among the Pompey substitutes.

Reading Under-23s: Former Pompey player Martin Kuhl will oversee a young side which defeated Bristol Rovers 3-2 in their previous group match in the competition.

Joseph Mendes, who scored the winner in that game, is expected to again start.

The striker appeared as a substitute for the first team against Derby on Saturday.

There is also likely to be a rare start for summer signing Sandro Wieser, who is yet to break into Jaap Stam’s senior team.

Match Odds

Pompey win: 3/4

To win: 1-0 8/1, 2-0 17/2, 2-1 7/1, 3-0 14/1, 3-1 12/1, 3-2 22/1

Reading Under-23s: 4/1

To win: 1-0 14/1, 2-0 25/1, 2-1 12/1, 3-0 50/1, 3-1 33/1, 3-2 33/1

Draw: 5/2

Form Guide

Pompey: Doncaster (L), Blackpool (L), Barnet (W), Accrington (L), Wycombe (W)

Reading Under-23s: Birmingham (W), Derby (L), Chelsea (W), Southampton (L), Bristol Rovers (W)

Top scorers

Pompey: Gary Roberts (6)

Reading: Andy Rinomhota and Thomas McIntyre (both 3)

Other fixtures

Bolton v Blackpool; Cheltenham v Everton U21; Bristol Rovers v Yeovil; Wimbledon v Plymouth; Newport v Swansea City U21; Crewe v Wolverhampton Wanderers U21; Chesterfield v Accrington; Swindon v Oxford Utd; Bradford v Bury; Morecambe v Stoke City; Coventry v Northampton; Wycombe v West Ham United; Carlisle v Blackburn Rovers U21; Fleetwood v Oldham; Charlton v Crawley; Colchester v Southampton U21; Doncaster v Derby County U21; Port Vale v Mansfield; Peterborough v MK Dons; Barnet v Norwich City U21; Hartlepool v Sunderland U21; Rochdale v Notts County; Southend v Leyton Orient; Stevenage v Brighton & Hove Albion U21; Cambridge v Middlesbrough U21; Luton v West Bromwich Albion U21; Grimsby v Leicester City U21; Sheff Utd v Walsall

Gaffer for a day

Steve Tovey, aged 57,from Fareham

This cup is a farce, it’s an experiment by silly people in the Football League who don’t know what they are doing. It’s a political tool.

They have ruined the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy for lower-league clubs.

As far as Pompey are concerned, people have a right to protest, but the biggest protest should not be against this trophy – it should be for the Whole Game Solution.

That affects Pompey, whereas this trophy does not affect us, especially now B teams will no longer be allowed into any league.

Anyhow, this competition remains ridiculous. Reading under-23s can field who they like, whereas we will be fined for rotating the squad, it doesn’t make sense.

I will be attending, though, and was at the previous lowest Fratton Park post-war attendance – 2,318 in August 1993.

I don’t remember it being the smallest crowd, but as both my cousins support Bristol City and went with me to that match, it is ingrained in the brain.

I went to Yeovil in the previous Checkatrade Trophy, but I will go and watch anything. I have been to two youth games on the morning before Fratton Park matches this season – I just want to watch Pompey.

I don’t understand the protests and have already had this out with people. I respect their right to protest but they are protesting against the wrong thing. If it was a march against the Whole Game Solution then I would be there.

Tonight is just a game of football, the actual result is not a worry, this is nothing more than a friendly. It will give players a run out to get match minutes into their legs.

Looking at the players, I think Noel Hunt should be ahead of Curtis Main and Michael Smith – and I expect all to get the chance to play tonight.