Next Up: Portsmouth vs Exeter City

City’s impressive home form came down to earth with a bump at the hands of a typically odious Wycombe side on Saturday, leaving Paul Tisdale’s Grecians in the bottom half of the table ahead of a tough trip to the big boys of the division. Will will_hoskins_thumbHoskins made a surprise return to the line-up although two games in four days may be a bit much so he may find himself back on the bench with Tom Nichols likely to return. Similarly Matt Oakley, much as the ex-Southampton player would love to line up against their foes, may be rested especially if Ryan Harley is deemed fit enough to return.

With Portsmouth now debt-free after their woes which saw them slide from top division to bottom, and having appointed well in Paul Cook as manager, it’s perhaps no surprise to see Pompey sitting atop the division going into City’s visit – like Saturday’s opposition they have made themselves difficult to beat and are currently unbeaten in League Two with five wins and four draws from their first nine games. Amongst the players to watch will be the likes of Adam McGurk, who won promotion with Burton last season, while 18 year old Connor Chaplin has been touted as one to watch. Matt Tubbs has serious goalscoring pedigree, while Gary Roberts has been an ryan_harley_thumbimpressive performer in the lower leagues for many years. Paul Jones suffered an injury last week and is set to miss out against his former club, while James Dunne is currently nowhere to be seen having made a single substitute appearance in the League Cup this season.

Although it is still September this is already the second meeting between the sides this season having crossed swords in the Football League Trophy. Second half goals from Ryan Harley (penalty) and Alex Nicholls ensured City booked a passage into the next round. Last season the corresponding fixture on Valentine’s Day looked to be heading for a 0-0 draw before Jed Wallace broke City hearts with a last minute winner. Back on the opening day a patched up City side (including Paul Tisdale on the bench) came away with a creditable 1-1 draw – Tom Nichols opened the scoring in the first half before Wallace equalised in the second. With the sides having not been in the same division all that often you have to go back to March 1923 for the last time City came away from Fratton Park with a win, one of only two victories achieved by City in the Football League – Portsmouth have won 11 and there have been seven draws.

Match Officials

Fratton Park Ground Guide

Highlights of last season’s game at Fratton Park

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