Pompey v Plymouth: Big Match preview

Pompey take on Plymouth in a crunch clash in League Two.

Friday, 15th April 2016, 6:03 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th April 2016, 8:24 am
Marc McNulty is Pompey's top scorer this season with 11 goals Picture: Joe Pepler
Marc McNulty is Pompey's top scorer this season with 11 goals Picture: Joe Pepler

Here, we give you a guide of all you need to know about the game.

Pompey team news

Paul Cook has the option to field the same Pompey side for a fourth match running, with no fresh injury problems.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ryan Fulton is again troubled by the thigh issue which kept him off the bench against Dagenham & Redbridge last weekend.

His expected absence would keep Brian Murphy in the Blues squad, although Paul Jones is the preferred number one at present.

Conor Wilkinson is still receiving treatment at Bolton for the thigh injury picked up on international duty.

It means he is once more ruled out of action for his loan club.

Plymouth team news

Reuben Reid is again a doubt for Plymouth with a thigh injury.

The seven-goal striker, who has been linked with Pompey in the past, missed last weekend’s defeat to AFC Wimbledon and continues to struggle.

Definitely absent is midfielder Josh Simpson, who is ruled out for the season with a hamstring injury.

Another absence is striker Ryan Brunt – sidelined with a cruciate knee ligament problem after 10 goals this season.

His absence prompted the recall of young striker Tyler Harvey from a loan spell at Bath City.

Likely line-ups

Pompey: Paul Jones, Ben Davies, Christian Burgess, Matt Clarke, Enda Stevens, Danny Hollands, Michael Doyle, Adam McGurk, Gary Roberts, Kyle Bennett, Michael Smith. Substitutes: Brian Murphy, Adam Webster, Kal Naismith, Marc McNulty, Ben Close, Conor Chaplin, Gareth Evans.

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Plymouth: Luke McCormick, Jordan Forster, Peter Hartley, Curtis Nelson, Gary Sawyer, Hiram Boateng, Carl McHugh, Graham Carey, Jake Jervis, Jamille Matt, Gregg Wylde. Substitutes: Vincent Dorel, Craig Tanner, Ben Purrington, Kelvin Mellor, Louis Rooney, Jordan Houghton, Tyler Harvey.

Formation: 4-3-3

Referee: Christopher Sarginson (Staffordshire)

Today’s other games

Mansfield v Notts County (1pm), Accrington v Morecambe, Wimbledon v Crawley, Bristol Rovers v Yeovil, Cambridge v Carlisle, Exeter v Northampton, Hartlepool v York, Leyton Orient v Dag & Red,

Oxford Utd v Luton, Portsmouth v Plymouth, Stevenage v Newport, Wycombe v Barnet.

Match odds

Pompey win: 4/6

Plymouth win: 13/5

Draw: 9/4

Pompey stats

Goals: Marc McNulty (11), Conor Chaplin (9), Gareth Evans (9)

Assists: Kyle Bennett (11), Enda Stevens (11), Marc McNulty (7)

Appearances: Kyle Bennett (47), Enda Stevens (46), Ben Davies (45)

Plymouth stats

Goals: Jake Jervis (12), Ryan Brunt (10), Graham Carey (10)

Assists: Jake Jervis (7), Graham Carey (7), Gregg Wylde (5)

Appearances: Curtis Nelson (46), Gary Sawyer (45), Craig Tanner (44)

Gaffer for a day – Alex Judd

It is the old cliché, with every game at the moment season-defining.

We require six more wins to guarantee automatic promotion, but even then that might not necessarily be enough.

We have the quality to do that, yet consistency has been the issue. Sometimes we run teams ragged and score a hatful of goals, other games – such as Barnet and Newport County – it doesn’t click.

Not so long ago Plymouth appeared to have third spot sewn up, but now have thrown it away and it’s a game we can win 2-1.

Defeat, though, and results going against us this weekend could be the end of our own automatic promotion hopes.

Paul Cook has named the same team for three successive matches, but I would make three changes.

Ideally, I would bring Ryan Fulton back in for Paul Jones, although obviously that is not going to happen through his thigh problem.

The Liverpool loanee has had a couple of mishaps but, broadly, has displayed confidence in the penalty area when charging out to grab the ball.

Having said that, Jones has done really well since returning from Crawley.

At the start of the season Brian Murphy had us biting our nails!

I would also take Matt Clarke out and bring back Adam Webster. Clarke looked a bit lost against Dagenham & Redbridge and it was concerning Ashley Hemmings was allowed to pull off an overhead-kick to score inside our box.

Finally, I’d switch Adam McGurk for Gareth Evans.

McGurk is a good squad player but I don’t believe has the flair to really light up a game.

The quality of Evans is a little bit better and he also has a more impressive goal record for Pompey.