Promotion watch: Top two collide

Pompey lost 3-0 at Stevenage last week. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey lost 3-0 at Stevenage last week. Picture: Joe Pepler

Michael Eisner. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Pompey go into tomorrow’s clash with Newport hoping to close the gap on second-placed Plymouth.

The Blues host the relegation-stricken Exiles on the back of a humbling 3-0 defeat at Stevenage.

It was a result in stark contrast to their previous form.

Paul Cook’s men had produced three wins on the spin and the Pompey boss will be hoping to see his side return to winning ways.

Three points for the Blues would see the gap to second-placed Plymouth (72 points) closed back to just four points for at least a few hours.

The Pilgrims don’t play until Sunday, when they travel to table-toppers Doncaster (78).

Donny haven’t lost in their past seven games and boast an unbeaten record on their own patch this campaign.

But Plymouth boss Dereck Adams will be hoping his side can get a result to keep their title hopes alive.

After beating the Blues last weekend, Stevenage (61) now sit in fourth.

They face a trip to mid-table Cambridge (53), who have slid out of the play-off picture in recent weeks.

Darren Sarll’s side are the division’s form team, having won nine of their past 11.

Stevenage will fancy their chances against a U’s who that have struggled for consistency all season.

Should Boro slip up, Luton (60) will be hoping to capitalise.

The Hatters go to 11th-placed Colchester (53) on the back of a frustrating draw against Newport on Tuesday night – their fifth in seven games.

Nonetheless, Nathan Jones’ men remain a big threat to Pompey’s push for promotion.

A win for the U’s would be seen as a huge positive from a Blues’ perspective.

Another side still hoping to catch Pompey are Carlisle (59), who occupy sixth.

The Cumbrians have spent most of the season in the top three but have laboured since the turn of the year.

Carlisle have lost five of their past six – including a 3-0 defeat at home to the Blues.

The Brunton Park outfit have their sights on three points when they host 18th-placed Crewe.

Alexandra have won three of their past four and will fancy themselves against the free-falling Cumbrians.

The last play-off place is currently being occupied by Paul Tisdale’s Exeter side (58), who host 17th-placed Yeovil tomorrow.

The Grecians have just two wins in their past nine games.

With Blackpool (57) close behind, Exeter will be desperate for a much-needed win at home to the Glovers.

In terms of the chasing pack, the Tangerines host struggling Hartlepool knowing a win could take them into the top seven.

Wycombe and Mansfield (both 55 points) take on Notts County and Morecambe respectively.

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