Barnet v Pompey: Big Match preview

Matt Clarke is likely to be recalled to the Pompey defence tonight, with Christian Burgess suspended
Matt Clarke is likely to be recalled to the Pompey defence tonight, with Christian Burgess suspended
Luke McGee. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey travel to The Hive tonight in League Two.

Here’s all you need to know about tonight’s game, opponents Barnet and more at a glance...

Don’t forget, if you are not at the game, follow Jordan Cross’ text updates here from 7.30pm.

Pompey team news

Gareth Evans has been ruled out of tonight’s trip to Barnet with a hamstring injury.

The midfielder came off with the problem in the first half against Yeovil, so Adam McGurk is pushing for a start.

Also missing is Christian Burgess as he serves a one-match ban following his Huish Park red card. Matt Clarke is set to come into the centre of defence.

Conor Chaplin has been declared fit following an ankle injury.

Danny Hollands also returns to the squad for the first time since breaking his leg at Ipswich Town in the FA Cup.

Barnet team news

The Bees will be without Michael Gash for tonight’s visit of Paul Cook’s Pompey.

The seven-goal striker is missing with a hamstring problem, along with Gavin Hoyte (cruciate knee ligament) and Bira Dembele (knee).

Barnet’s medical team are still assessing Shaun Batt after he was forced out of the action against AFC Wimbledon at the weekend.

Former Pompey duo John Akinde and Bondz N’Gala are both expected to start.

Akinde has 11 goals in 31 appearances so far this season.

Likely line-ups

Pompey: Ryan Fulton, Ben Davies, Adam Webster, Matt Clarke, Enda Stevens, Michael Doyle, Ben Close, Adam McGurk, Gary Roberts, Kyle Bennett, Michael Smith. Subs: Alex Bass, Kal Naismith, Conor Chaplin, Marc McNulty, Adam Barton, Danny Hollands, Ben Tollitt

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Barnet: Jamie Stephens, James Pearson, Bondz N’Gala, Michael Nelson, Elliot Johnson, Chris Hackett, Andy Yiadom, Sam Togwell, Curtis Weston, Luke Gambin, John Akinde. Subs: Kai McKenzie-Lyle, Tom Champion, Sam Muggleton, Matt Stevens, Alie Sesay, Mark Randall, Fumnaya Shomotun

Formation: 4-5-1

Referee

Philip Gibbs (Birmingham)

Match odds (Betting Room)

Pompey 5/6

To win: 1-0 6/1, 2-0 15/2, 2-1 15/2, 3-0 14/1, 3-1 14/1, 3-2 28/1

Barnet 5/2

To win: 1-0 5/2, 2-0 25/1, 2-1 14/1, 3-0 66/1, 3-1 40/1, 3-2 50/1

Draw 5/2

0-0 9/1, 1-1 13/2, 2-2 16/1, 3-3 66/1

Form Guide:

Pompey: Yeovil (D), Bristol Rovers (D), Leyton Orient (L), Morecambe (D), Bournemouth (L)

Barnet: AFC Wimbledon (L), Dagenham (W), Stevenage (D), Carlisle (D), Bristol Rovers (W)

Pompey Stats

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

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

Appearances: Kyle Bennett (37), Enda Stevens (36), Ben Davies (35)

Barnet stats

Top scorers: John Akinde (11), Michael Gash (7), Bira Dembele (4)

Most assists: John Akinde (7), Luke Gambin (6), Curtis Weston (4)

Appearances: Elliot Johnson (35), Curtis Weston (34), Bondz N’Gala (34)

Tonight’s other fixtures

Accrington v Notts County, Wimbledon v Carlisle, Exeter v Oxford Utd, Yeovil v Plymouth,

York v Northampton

Gaffer for a day - Dan Stewart

It’s all about which team turns up tonight, with Pompey at the moment you don’t really know.

One week we are world-beaters, the next struggling – and that is the frustration.

We are finding it hard to win ugly.

Having said that, I am still confident we will get promoted one way or another.

I don’t see why we cannot finish in the top three, Plymouth are not home and dry yet, while Oxford United remain catchable – provided we can start putting together a few back-to-backs victories.

I am a big fan of Paul Cook, he is the best manager we have had in a long time. I love managers with passion and speak from the heart.

After a game in which we have not played well – such as Yeovil – when I hear him talk he lifts me again, filling me with a bit of confidence.

Looking at the team tonight, Marc McNulty has to play, he is the best striker we have had for a long time. Put him through on goal and you are confident he will score.

Michael Smith has not done anything particularly badly, but I prefer McNulty on the pitch. With him there we look far more likely to score.

It is a totally different game when you play Smith. We have gone from Caolan Lavery and McNulty in combination to Smith – and that is surely going to change the way the team plays.

With Gareth Evans out injured, you would imagine Adam McGurk would come into the side.

We have to keep players like Kyle Bennett in the side because he is dangerous and can make something happen out of nothing, even on a bad day.

I know people around me get frustrated with Bennett, but he has been my player of the season so far.