Exeter v Pompey - Big Match Preview

Pompey travel to St James Park tonight looking to consolidate their position in the League Two play-off places.

Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 3:00 pm
Pompey striker Michael Smith Picture: Joe Pepler

Here’s all you need to know ahead of kick-off (7.45pm)

Pompey team news

Pompey are likely to be without injured trio Adam McGurk, Gary Roberts and Michael Smith for the trip to Exeter.

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McGurk is carrying a back injury, with Roberts out with a hamstring problem and Smith sidelined with a calf issue.

Kal Naismith is expected to recover from a whack on the knee picked up against Cambridge United to be available for the trip to St James Park.

That is likely to give Paul Cook the same squad to pick from as Saturday.

Brian Murphy remains out of the picture with a calf issue.

Exeter team news

Jayden Stockley is expected to be rewarded for his goalscoring entrance against Stevenage with a start.

The ex-Pompey loanee climbed off the bench to net twice in the Grecians’ 2-0 victory at the weekend.

He is likely to come in for David Wheeler up front as Paul Tisdale attempts to build on that win.

Matt Oakley will continue in the centre of defence, while ex-Blues winger Lee Holmes could return.

Will Hoskins once again misses out as the former Watford striker battles against injury.

Likely line-ups

Pompey: Ryan Fulton, Ben Davies, Christian Burgess, Adam Webster, Enda Stevens, Kal Naismith, Michael Doyle, Danny Hollands, Kyle Bennett, Marc McNulty, Conor Chaplin. Substitutes: Alex Bass, Brandon Haunstrup, Matt Clarke, Ben Tollitt, Kieron Freeman, Adam Barton, Gareth Evans

Formation: 4-4-2

Exeter: Bobby Olejnik, Christian Ribeiro, Matt Oakley, Jordan Moore-Taylor, Craig Woodman, Danny Butterfield, Ryan Harley, Lee Holmes, Alex Nicholls, Jamie Reid, Jayden Stockley. Substitutes: Christy Pym, David Wheeler, Joel Grant, Jamie McAllister, Troy Brown, Ollie Watkins, David Noble

Formation: 4-1-2-1-2

Match odds

Pompey: To win 21/20

1-0 13/2, 2-0 9/1, 2-1 15/2, 3-0 18/1, 3-1 16/1, 3-2 28/1

Exeter: To win 2/1

1-0 2/1, 2-0 18/1, 2-1 11/1, 3-0 40/1, 3-1 33/1, 3-2 40/1

Draw: 12/5

0-0 9/1, 1-1 6/1, 2-2 16/1, 3-3 66/1

Referee: Brendan Malone (Wiltshire)

Pompey stats

Top scorers: Marc McNulty (9), Conor Chaplin (8), Gary Roberts (8), Gareth Evans (8)

Most assists: Kyle Bennett (8), Enda Stevens (8), Marc McNulty (6)

Most appearances: Kyle Bennett (39), Enda Stevens (38), Ben Davies (37)

Exeter stats

Top scorers: Alex Nicholls (8), David Wheeler (7), Ryan Harley (5)

Most assists: Lee Holmes (9), Clinton Morrison (5), Joel Grant (5)

Appearances: Bobby Olejnik (41), Alex Nicholls (35), Troy Brown (35)

Tonight’s over games (7.45pm kick-offs, unless stated)

Barnet v Plymouth, Bristol Rovers v Hartlepool, Cambridge v Wycombe, Carlisle v Leyton Orient, Crawley v Newport, Luton v Morecambe, Northampton v Wimbledon, Notts County v Dag & Red, Oxford Utd v York, Yeovil v Accrington

Gaffer for a day – James Conroy

Barnet was a tough one, I haven’t felt more deflated leaving a match for a long time.

I aired my frustration vocally at the final whistle, but mainly the criticism was aimed at the first half of the match. We had been naive – but gave it a go in the second half.

Yet, against Cambridge United, it was good – the kind of performance missing from us this season.

It was not any kind of advert for League Two football, but we got the win, which was the important thing.

Adam Webster was my man of the match and has been a revelation this season. Me and my mates have already started calling him John Stones!

I would make just the one change to the side against Exeter tonight, which is Gareth Evans in for Kal Naismith.

Naismith played quite well on Saturday but it is hard to leave Evans out with his goalscoring record this season. He is also a player that is effective and tends to slip under the radar.

Danny Hollands should keep his place. He has come on so much this season, and with him now being fit it is a no-brainer.

I would also keep the Marc McNulty/Conor Chaplin strike partnership.

Conor has that little bit of footballing flair and an instinct, making himself a handful.

Exeter have not been great at home this season.

They have won once at St James Park in the league since October, so this may be an opportunity for us.

I went to university there for four years and regularly paid £5 to go to matches, but it’s the first time I have seen Pompey play there.

I’m not looking forward to standing on that uncovered away end, though!

Still, I think we’ll get another win.