Promotion watch: Pompey’s rivals in focus

Stevenage boss Darren Sarll
Stevenage boss Darren Sarll
Conor Chaplin could start againsyt Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey v Plymouth: pre-match talking points

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With Doncaster Rovers now promoted, all eyes are fixed on the remaining two spots.

It’s second against third at Fratton Park tomorrow while the remaining contenders will be striving to make up ground.

Luton are presently the closest to the top three, albeit still eight points adrift.

Nathan Jones’ side host troubled Leyton Orient in a match the Hatters will surely anticipate victory.

The visitors remain beset by financial problems, with players and staff still not paid after a fortnight’s delay.

Orient last weekend collected a sixth successive defeat, with Cambridge United taking advantage after the bulk of their opposition’s disillusioned squad were declared injured.

Now the relegation-bound club take on a Luton team seeking a third consecutive victory.

The Hatters had previously gone five fixtures without victory, but have lifted themselves during the season’s finale.

They will hope Pompey drop points, allowing themselves to cut down the ever-growing gap.

Stevenage are one point behind Luton and presented with a home encounter against Morecambe.

Darren Sarll’s men suffered a shock 4-0 defeat at Colchester last weekend, with all goals arriving in the opening 45 minutes.

It means they have taken only seven points from the last 15 on offer as they slip behind.

They face a Morecambe side desperately out of form and without victory from their previous nine fixtures.

After the Shrimps drew at Fratton Park in February, they lost the next seven games before picking up a point against Hartlepool last weekend.

It’s a run which has seen them drop to 19th in League Two, with ownership issues rumbling on in the background.

Exeter, who are 12 points behind Pompey, are seeking to retain their place in the play-offs.

They host Barnet after an inconsistent period has seen them drop well out of automatic promotion contention.

Paul Tisdale’s side have collected three wins from 12 matches, while last weekend suffered a home defeat to struggling Newport County.

Their Barnet opposition presently sit 16th having won two of their last 16 fixtures as they settle for mid-table.

Completing those in the play-off positions are Carlisle, whose continue their remarkable plummet out of promotion contention.

Last weekend they suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Notts County as the dismal form continues.

Since beaten 3-0 by Pompey in February, Keith Curle’s troops have collected one victory in nine games.

That has removed them from the top three and they are now battling to remain in play-off contention.

Finally, although promoted last weekend following victory over Mansfield, Doncaster as seeking to wrap up the League Two title when they travel to Colchester.