The Promotion Race: Undoubtedly the clash of the weekend is at Highbury, as Pompey head to in-form Fleetwood
We take a look at the weekend’s fixtures with Portsmouth knowing that only a win at Fleetwood would guarantee their spot in the top six come Saturday evening. If Pompey lose, Joey Barton’s men will overtake Kenny Jackett’s troops in the standings and could end up in the top six themselves if Ipswich fail to beat Oxford at Portman Road.
Accrington Stanley v Rotherham
Our Prediction: 1-3
Andrew Topham: The Millers will be looking to get back to winning ways after conceding a last minute equaliser to draw with Wimbledon last Saturday. To be fair, on another day Rotherham could have won that game 6-2 but didn’t stick their chances away when they came.
It will be really interesting to see whether Paul Warne starts with Ladapo who again scored from the bench last week. I would also personally like to see him start Josh Koroma in place of Adelekun who has provided little down the wings in the last few weeks.
The Millers last visit to the Wham Bar stadium was back in the days of Steve Evans when we came away with a nervy 0-1 win on the way to promotion from L2. I’m predicting the same again this Saturday
Fleetwood v Portsmouth
Our Prediction: 1-1
Alexander Redford (Fleetwood): Saturdays fixture looks an exciting one with us and Portsmouth on great runs of form. After 4 straight wins against respectable teams the lads must feel unstoppable and Portsmouth will have to be on top of their game to score here. However last time out in the FA cup we made silly mistakes but I believe the past is in the past for this one. Our new formation gives our once shaky centre backs confidence with another man to help out. This set up gives our full backs huge ambition to almost become wingers this results in our front three being quite narrow and often become ruthless and unforgiving up front. Portsmouth have a squad capable of surviving in the championship and some big names in this league, they always push for promotion but can’t quite seem to beat the playoffs. They’re long term manager Kenny Jackett is widely regarded as a tactical genius and rightly so.
Taking everything into account along with slight bias I believe we can breeze to a 2-0 scorers McKay and Madden
Sam Stone: Pompey make the long trip to Fleetwood on Saturday looking to maintain pressure on the automatic promotion places. The Blues bounced back from their Coventry set back with a comfortable win against Shrewsbury. After the midweek Mayhem in the EFL trophy, Pompey need to focus all their attention on the Fylde coast in what looks like an extremely tough fixture.
Pompey have already beaten Barton’s men once this season, In the 3rd round of the FA cup. A James Bolton header and John Marquis tap in sealed the Blues place in the 4th round. Both goals coming from set-pieces. On that day the Blues edged a fairly even contest and their set-piece prowess caused Fleetwood problems. If they can replicate the delivery and the threat from dead-ball situations, Fleetwood definitely looked vulnerable.
Andy Cannon and Ellis Harrison are both doubts for Saturday’s fixture, however John Marquis will be able to fill in up-front and Cameron McGeehan in the No 10 position; both were influential in Tuesday night’s win over Exeter.
Fleetwood have picked up some impressive results recently; Beating Wycombe at Adams’ park and then Peterborough at home shows they are not going to be push overs. They have plenty of experience and are particularly good at home, where conditions could be a factor.
I believe a point would be a good result this weekend, given their recent form and the winnable home games Pompey have coming up. It is crucial there is no hangover from Tuesday nights EFL trophy game and that the Blues maintain their good form in the League. I can see Pompey taking an early lead from a set-piece but then being pegged back in the 2nd half after a period of Fleetwood pressure.
Ipswich v Oxford
Our Prediction: 2-1
BackingtheBlues: After a great team performance on Saturday which saw us score four goals it has made me feel more confident about our game against Oxford.
I am aware that Burton are not the best of sides, but there’s definitely worse and we’ve struggled all season to score at home so it’s almost came at the perfect time.
Oxford and Town played a month or two ago in a 0-0 draw in horrible weather conditions. Town were arguably very very poor in that game. Honestly I don’t care how we win Saturday even if it’s an own goal I’ll take anything but we have to get 3 points!
Dale Ventham: We travel to Ipswich, who themselves had had an inconsistent with time recently, who sit just four points ahead of us.
The result against Dons has boosted confidence, with James Henry netting, while Matty Taylor and Nathan Holland both bagged a brace. We also welcome back Alex Rodriguez Gorrin from suspension. I want to say I can predict an Oxford win, and although it could be possible, I’d settle for a draw.
Rochdale v Coventry
Our Prediction: 0-2
NiiLampteyShow: Right, let’s have a look to see who our next VICTIMS are.
According to this fictional version of Wikipedia I’m looking at, Rochdale is a small town in the North West of England who in February 2020 were forced to completely close down due to total humiliation at the hands of Coventry city football club.
Rotherham will be more tricky and hilarious jokes aside, these three games (Sunderland after Rotherham) will give us a proper indication of our chances of going up this season.
Our performances recently can best be described as ‘ominous’. We don’t have a regular goalscorer but we keep coming up with goals. We are very, very solid at the back and have an established back 7 with a rotating cast of attacking players with different attributes that mean we can change things up effectively mid game and our goals last weekend were scored by subs.
Rotherham especially will be a massive, massive game. If we can get four points from these two I’ll be happy.
I’m predicting a tight victory against Rochdale and a draw against Rotherham. I will be happy with that.
Shrewsbury v Doncaster
Our Prediction: 1-2
IntotheEmptyNet: It’s back to the drawing board for Rovers this weekend after a miserable time in the defeat to Gillingham last weekend. Fejiri Okenabirhie got sent off, meaning he misses a trip back to his former team this weekend, and Cameron John will need picking up off the floor after two own goals to gift the points to Steve Evans. We should be confident really, who better to play than a team without a win in ten games?
But we shouldn’t underestimate Shrewsbury, they have some very good players – particularly Josh Laurent and, when he plays, Jason Cummings – and so we will have to be back to our best to get something. We need to find a way to play without Okenabirhie leading the line, so I expect Devante Cole to come back in and use his presence to cause problems, but I hope Niall Ennis keeps his place out wide as he has found good goalscoring form and I think could cause the Shrews defence plenty of problems.
John will in all likelihood keep his place at left back, clearly not his favoured position but a necessity with Reece James out injured. He needs to make sure he does the basics right and rely on his left winger, be that Ennis or Kieran Sadlier, to support him and instigate attacking moves. Score prediction: Last weekend has shattered my confidence I must admit, so I will be a pessimist and say we will lose…
Southend v Burton
Our Prediction: 1-1 * Last chance saloon for Burton
BurtonBible: We’ve reached rock bottom. Six games without a win and a 4-1 loss on Saturday leaves our play-off hopes hanging by a thread. We come up against a old rival this weekend as we’ve had many tight feisty games with Southend. In the reverse fixture they play acted O’Toole into a red card and held on for a 1-1 draw, so we’ll be looking for some revenge this time out.
Sunderland v Bristol Rovers
Our Prediction: 2-0
SunderLad: Sunderland take on 13th placed Bristol Rovers at the Stadium of Light this weekend. Rovers will be looking at building on their 2-1 win against Blackpool last week, but SAFC are in tremendous form at home. Sunderland are without defender Bailey Wright who is out for the rest of the season, but apart from that, they have a pretty much full-strength team. Promotion places are in touching distance for Sunderland.
Wycombe v Tranmere
Our Prediction: 1-0
TheWycombeWay: Wanderers have already played Rovers three times this campaign, with both sides tasting a win and a draw. On paper it looks like Wycombe will do the league double over Tranmere on Saturday, having beating this weekends visitors 0-2 in the return game back in November at Prenton Park, however Tranmere held Wycombe to a draw and beat them on their own patch in the FA Cup first round.
Wycombe are hoping to build on three points last weekend, a 0-2 win at Bolton which marked their first points and goals on the road in basically three points. A return to winning form at home is needed this weekend, after defeat last time in HP12. Ainsworth should again have a fully fit squad, bar Jack Grimmer who remains out. It’ll be comfortable for Wanderers, 3-0 seems a fair prediction, but perhaps I’d expect more.