The Promotion Race: Coventry entertain inform Pompey as clubs look to close the gap on Rotherham
We take a look at the midweek fixtures with the headline game being at Birmingham City’s St Andrews where Coventry City entertain an inform Portsmouth side. Elsewhere, Wycombe will be looking to overtake Rotherham (who are not playing) with a win against play-off chasing Fleetwood.
AFC Wimbledon v Ipswich
Our Prediction: 1-3
BackingtheBlues: Town’s promotion push has taken a proper U turn as of late with the Tractor boys losing three on the bounce. However, Tuesday night is a chance to turn it all around when we face AFC Wimbledon. In the reverse fixture we made it look difficult at Portman Road, but hopefully we can show what we can do in London!
As Paul Lambert said, we are no longer the hunted we are the hunter. We have 14 games to go it’s far from over, big win tomorrow… Come on The Town!
Burton Albion v Oxford
Our Prediction: 2-1
Burton Bible: The winless run was extended on Saturday, which means we haven’t won since we went into the play-offs after a win against MK Dons. The style of football, especially since we sold top goalscorer Liam Boyce to Hearts, has been disappointing. Lucas Akins has tried his best as a replacement but just doesn’t have the finishing that Boyce does. Another key player, Scott Fraser, has been in and out of the team with illness and knocks during this run. Oxford have been on a bad run recently too though with only 1 win in 5 so it’s up to the Brewers to break out of this slump and kick start the push to the playoffs with a win.
Dale Ventham: After our 2-1 win over Blackpool, it looked as of we had reestablished out playoff bid. However, last weekends thumping at promotion rivals Peterborough has brought us back down to earth and are now 11th in the table.
We travel to Burton on Tuesday (one place and two points behind us) looking to add to our dismal record of just three wins in 14 meetings against the Brewers. We have also picked up a mere five points from a possible 18 since the turn of the New Year. As you can see, it’s very tight at the top and if we manage to secure a couple of wins against our promotion rivals, we’ll be back in the mix, and this would be a perfect three points to pick up.
Coventry v Portsmouth
Our Prediction: 1-2
NiiLampteyShow: Neither us nor Portsmouth have lost in our last 6. Cov are in 4th, Portsmouth 5th and both have played 2 less games than those around them. I’ve rang Paul Merson (my spiritual guru and ‘go to’ guy for official match designations) who has confirmed the ‘BIG GAME’ status of this CLASH.
Our game against them at their place earlier in the season was one of the best games this season. We fought back from 3-1 down with 9 men to draw 3 all. Sadly the three we scored in that game account for about 50% of the overall goals we’ve scored this season. We laboured to a 2-1 win over a pretty poor Bolton side at the weekend as our lack of cutting edge/creativity showed again as well as some understandably tired legs.
We’ve played a LOT of games recently and our ability to cope with that will have a massive impact on whether we can climb into the automatics. I’d say we’ll draw against Pompey, in no small part because I reckon both managers would snatch your hand off for that result.
Sam Stone: Pompey travel to Birmingham on Tuesday night to face promotion chasing Coventry in a crucial clash in the promotion battle. Pompey are coming off another impressive win; this time against a spirited Tranmere, whilst Coventry secured a last gasp victory against lowly Bolton. A win for either side will put them in pole position to make a sustained assault on the Automatic promotion places.
Pompey’s win at Tranmere was another vintage Kenny Jackett away performance; Pompey riding their luck, being clinical and remaining solid when they need to be. Pompey have picked up three clean sheets in as many games. The emerging ‘cult’ hero, Sean Raggett and ever-present Christian Burgess have given Jackett’s men an edge defensively and offensively. Raggett has a knack of making some vital interceptions and clearances and also notched his first goal for the club on Saturday from a pinpoint Ronan Curtis cross. Burgess and Raggett will, without a doubt, face some lengthy pressure on Tuesday, due to Coventry’s home form and the way they play. If they continue their recent impenetrable form and provide Pompey a good attacking outlet, they could be vital in determining where the points go.
Another key man in this tight contest will be Ronan Curtis. The Irishman has four assists in his last two games. Three of those coming from set plays. The wide-man’s dead ball quality along with Steve Seddon, has been the main catalyst for Pompey’s defenders propelling themselves up the goal charts.
Coventry are likely to be Pompey’s toughest assignment in League One this season. The sky blues have the second-best home record in the division behind Pompey. They seem very much at home in Birmingham. Pompey fans will not want to be reminded of the meeting between the two-sides earlier in the season. Pompey managing to squander a 3-1 lead against nine men; Kenny Jackett’s toughest time as Pompey manager.
Having seen Coventry play towards the back end of last season, as well as the start of this one, they are comfortably one of the better footballing sides in the league. Kelly in the midfield ran the game at Fratton last season and they have pace going forward as well as a clinical edge in former Pompey target Matt Godden. I wouldn’t be surprised if Coventry heavily dominate the ball on Tuesday and Pompey sit back and hope to catch them on the break.
Pompey are unlikely to have the instrumental Andy Cannon fit; however, Cameron McGeehan can slot into the no10 position and has the ability to provide the same tenacity as Cannon.
I have no doubts that both managers would both be happy with a point given Pompey’s recent form and Coventry’s success at home. I feel that Coventry will create and carve open Pompey on the odd occasion but also feel that Pompey have the plenty of outlets to cause the sky blues issues. Set-pieces, counter attacks and also the ability to apply some sustained pressure. I believe this will be a well contested affair by two excellent League One sides, and I feel the points will be shared, with Pompey taking the lead early and then Coventry building some pressure in the later period of the game and equalise.
Doncaster v Bolton
Our Prediction: 1-0
IntoTheEmptyNet: This is likely to be a highly charged game owing to the circumstances surrounding the cancellation of the away fixture at the start of the season. In truth I’m not much looking forward to it!
You’d like to think we have enough to win the game but Saturday was a poor performance and we’ve been far too inconsistent really. Hopefully Darren Moore will pick the right team and we’ll get back to our best, but it will be a tricky one.
Peterborough v Southend
Our Prediction: 3-0
Jarred Farmer: Southend have picked up a few points in recent weeks but they’ll have to be at their very best to get anything from Posh on Tuesday evening. Posh will need to make changes for the first time in 5 games with defenders Frankie Kent likely to be out injured and Nathan Thomson serving a one match ban, there’s rumours Fergie will drop the leagues top scorer Ivan Toney due to him being one card away from a two game ban. We are in fine form currently and I cannot see it changing Tuesday.
Sunderland v Rochdale
Our Prediction: 3-0
SunderLAD: Sunderland host 18th placed Rochdale hot on the heels of a win over Ipswich at the weekend. Despite the league position, the visitors have proven tough opponents to overcome this season and to Premier League teams too. However, there will be another huge crowd at the Stadium of Light and albeit for the Pompey blip, Sunderland have the momentum. Could be a tough game, but if Sunderland score early on, there could be a lot of goals.
Wycombe v Fleetwod
Our Prediction: 2-2
TheWycomeWay: Fleetwood Town make the 450 mile round trip to High Wycombe for Tuesday nights League One fixture. Having made the same journey on a stormy night back in August, I can only applaud the Town fans making the trip down with Storm Ciara still causing havoc.
Fleetwood will be looking to make it three league wins in a row and become only the second side to beat Wycombe away this season, with Coventry being the only side to do so.
Wycombe’s win at the weekend moved them to within three points of leaders Rotherham at the top of the tree, and helped them to keep up their rather impressive home form, more of the same from the Wanderers tomorrow night