Jack Osmond-Smith previews Pompey’s trip to Northampton.
I would consider Northampton as the surprise package this campaign and it will be a difficult game.
Would anyone have suggested they would make the top three at the season’s start? The play-offs maybe, but not top of the table.
They’ve had their troubles off the pitch as well, which has spurred them on if anything.
We are six points behind the Cobblers, so our first port of call is not to lose.
The primary goal has to be to make sure we get a point, although a win would be even better.
Going into the run of fixtures over Christmas, we must stay in touch with our promotion rivals, so this represents an important match.
With Christian Burgess injured, Matt Clarke is the obvious one to come into his central-defensive slot alongside Adam Webster – although there are not many alternatives.
Jack Whatmough has yet to play following his injury, but we should have Adam Barton on the bench as cover in case anyone gets injured.
Burgess is a loss, he has been one of the more consistent players and is more experienced than the others. He’s a good player, even if he does try to overdo things at times.
Defensively, I would say Clarke is the best player. The other two are clearly better at bringing the ball out.
Clarke won’t let us down, he did really well at the start of the season – it’s just that Webster has come in and done equally as well, if not better.
Elsewhere, let’s keep the same side which defeated Hartlepool 4-0 last weekend, with Adam McGurk and Conor Chaplin good options off the bench.
The front four pick themselves and look full of goals.