Exeter v Pompey: Gaffer for a day

Gaffer for a day Jack Williams previews today's game with Exeter.

Saturday, 28th January 2017, 10:30 am

A quick glance at the League Two table would suggest this should be a routine win, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

The form table, based on the past 10 games, has Exeter sitting pretty in third place – four places above the Blues in seventh – so it won’t be an easy game by any stretch.

Despite this, though, I still think we will have too much for Paul Tisdale’s side and I’m expecting a 2-1 win.

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In terms of the team, I would love to see Liam O’Brien get a game, although it seems unlikely!

David Forde would appear to be Paul Cook’s man, but I feel I’m not alone in being unconvinced by the big Irishman.

At 37 he just seems to lack the mobility of other goalkeepers, and his moment of confusion with Christian Burgess almost cost us the two points against Orient, which would have been a travesty given our performance that day.

The only other change I’d make comes up front and it’s one that has divided Blues fans in recent weeks – but I’d drop Michael Smith.

I actually do feel for Smith as when he first came back into the team he looked a serious threat and a real handful. But in recent weeks his confidence has drained to the point where dropping him almost seems the kindest thing to do.

Replacing him, I’d love to see Nicke Kabamba given a chance to prove himself alongside Conor Chaplin, although the step up in class might be too much for him so early on in his Pompey career.

Overall, I’m feeling positive about our chances of automatic promotion.

Plymouth or Doncaster may well be out of reach but, with Carlisle stuttering, this is surely the best chance we’re going to get to claw our way into that top three.