Exeter v Pompey: Gaffer for a day

Andy Horton previews Pompey's trip to Exeter in League Two.

Saturday, 27th August 2016, 10:00 am
Gaffer for a day Andy Horton would pair Michael Smith with Conor Chaplin up front

I believe Exeter are going to sit behind the ball and try to frustrate us.

Looking at last season’s draw, we dominated for 60 minutes and then sat back, allowing them to equalise in the 90th minute.

Considering the Grecians have not had a great start to the campaign, I can see them repeating the game plan and then coming at us late on.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

For this match I would play with the diamond, which Paul Cook used so effectively to get a late win over Colchester last weekend.

That would see Conor Chaplin and Michael Smith up front, with Curtis Main and Kyle Bennett the players dropping out.

I would then look to use Noel Hunt off the bench as you don’t want to play all your trump cards early, only for it not to work.

Chaplin came on to change things last Saturday, his presence lifted the fans, and we all know he can score goals.

Smith has received a hard time from a lot of supporters but needs a partner alongside him and I can see Chaplin being ideal for that.

In the reshuffle, Bennett would drop out because he was not very effective against Colchester, while I think the other two can work better than if Main was part of it.

My other alteration would be at the centre of defence, with Adam Barton replaced by Tom Davies.

Barton is a bit clumsy and, while he is a good back-up, is not as good a defender as Davies.

The worry is Barton has a mistake in him, as we saw at Morecambe, even though he can be quite composed on the ball.

Exeter is a tough place to go, but we should be able to win. They are not rivals for promotion or the play-offs so I would be disappointed to not beat them.