Portsmouth v Salford: team news, likely line-ups, form guide and big-match odds for the Papa John's Trophy final at Wembley
Pompey finally defend their silverware when they face Salford City in the Papa John’s Trophy final at Wembley today (3pm).
The showpiece encounter was due to take place almost a year ago but was postponed amid the Covid-19 crisis.
And for the original date, more than 50,000 members of the Fratton faithful had snapped up tickets and it would have been an occasion to savour.
Still, Kenny Jackett’s side are looking for successive triumphs in the competition after beating Sunderland on penalties in a dramatic final in 2019.
Pompey face a Salford side who’ve grabbed plenty of media attention during their rise from non-league to the Football League, with their high-profile owners of former Manchester United stars Gary Neville, Phil Neville, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt.
The Ammies are in League Two but have a strong squad and represent tough opposition.
Here’s all the key information needed ahead of the game...
Pompey team news
Andy Cannon looks set to miss the final against Salford after injuring his hamstring in Tuesday night’s defeat against Sunderland.
The midfielder came off late in the second half against the Black Cats and was due to have a scan on the problem yesterday.
Manager Kenny Jackett failed to rule him out for the game when asked on Thursday.
But it’s unlikely the 24-year-old will feature at any stage at Wembley, presenting George Byers with a chance to stake his claim for a regular midfield place for the remainder of the season.
Cannon joins Callum Johnson (calf) on the sidelines, with the right-back still 10 days away from a full recovery.
Keeper Alex Bass also remains out with a broken leg.
Predicted starting XI
Craig MacGillivray, James Bolton, Jack Whatmough, Sean Raggett, Lee Brown, Marcus Harness, George Byers, Lee Naylor, Ronan Curtis, John Marquis, Ryan Williams. Subs: Lewis Ward, Charlie Daniels, Rasmus Nicolaisen, Harvey White, Michael Jacobs, Ellis Harrison, Jordy Hiwula.
Salford team news
The money-spinning Ammies will have five players unavailable at Wembley due to ineligibility.
Loanees Di’Shon Bernard (Man Utd), Robbie Gotts (Leeds), Paul Coutts (Fleetwood), Tom James (Hibernian) are all cup-tied, as is George Boyd having respresented Peterborough in the competition earlier this season.
Meanwhile, former Man Utd and Everton midfielder Darron Gibson remains on the treatment table having broken his leg in October.
Forward Tom Elliott is also on the sidelines and will be absent.
Ex-Pompey triallist Bruno Andrade will be in Salford’s squad but is likely to be among the substitutes.
Vaclav Hladky, Ashley Eastham, Tom Clarke, Jordan Turnbull, Ashley Hunter, Jason Lowe, Oscar Threlkeld, Richie Towell, Ibou Touray, James Wilson, Ian Henderson. Subs: Williams Evans, Brandon Thomas-Asante, Bruno Andrade, Tylor Golden, Emmanuel Dieseruvwe, Daniel Hawkins, Matthew Sargent.
Match-day odds (bet365)
1-0 6/1, 2-0 8/1, 2-1 8/1, 3-0 14/1, 3-1 16/1, 3-2 28/1
1-0 10/1, 2-0 20/1, 2-1 14/1, 3-0 40/1, 3-1 33/1, 3-2 40/1
0-0 17/2, 1-1 11/2, 2-2 14/1, 3-3 50/1
First goalscorer: John Marquis (both 15/4), Ellis Harrison and Ronan Curtis (both 5/1)
League position: 6th (League One)
Top scorer: John Marquis (15)
Top assists: Marcus Harness (9)
Most appearances: John Marquis (40)
League position: 9th League Two
Top scorer: Ian Henderson (12)
Top assists: Ian Henderson and Ashley Hunter (both 7)
Most appearances: Vaclav Hladky (39)
Form guide (all competitions)
Pompey: P43 W21 D7 L15
Past five games
L 2-0 Sunderland (H) – League One
L 4-1 Northampton (A) – League One
L 2-1 Doncaster Rovers (A) – League One
D 1-1 Gillingham (H) – League One
W 1-0 Oxford United (A) – League One
Salford: P42 W17 D11 L14
Past five games
L 1-0 Crawley (A) – League Two
D 1-1 Scunthorpe (H) – League Two
W 1-0 Port Vale (H) – League Two
D 0-0 Southend (A) – League Two
L 2-1 Morecambe (A) – League Two
Other fixtures (3pm kick offs unless stated)
Blackpool v Fleetwood Town, Bristol Rovers v AFC Wimbledon, Charlton Athletic v Swindon Town, Crewe Alexandra v Burton Albion, Doncaster Rovers v Northampton Town, Hull City v Oxford United, Ipswich Town v Plymouth Argyle, Lincoln City v Rochdale, MK Dons v Accrington Stanley, Swindon Town v Gillingham (1pm).
Sunday – 2021 Papa John’s Trophy final
Sunderland v Tranmere
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
On Saturday, March 13 Pompey will finally get their day at Wembley.
To celebrate the Blues’ place in the rearranged 2020 EFL Trophy Final, The News has launched an offer that gets you 25% off all our Sports subscriptions.
You can choose your perfect Sports subscription here and use the discount code ROADTOWEMBLEY25 to get the latest news from Fratton Park for less. Offer runs until midnight on March 15.