After a week's rest due to their opponents' commitments in the Papa John’s Trophy, Posh enter tonight’s game refreshed and will look to turn around their form after some disappointing results.
Darren Ferguson’s men are on the back of two defeats, including the 3-1 loss against Hull City last Tuesday. Reece Brown gave Posh the lead inside the opening eight minutes but was pegged back by Reece Burke in the 20th minute.
Posh were then down to 10-men after Ethan Hamilton received a second yellow card five minutes before half-time. Grant McCann’s men took full advantage as goals from Keane Lewis-Potter and Malik Wilks sealed three points for Hull City.
Posh, who have three games in hand on Hull City, have dropped to second-place and six points behind the league leaders but can close that gap starting tonight as they face an out-of-form Portsmouth.
Team news and predicted line-up
Posh enter tonight’s game on the back of a well-needed one-week break from League One football after it was revealed players were carrying a few knocks over the past few weeks.
Ferguson remains without midfielder Jack Taylor due to a hamstring injury, and Ethan Hamilton will be serving a one-game suspension following that red-card against Hull City.
Teenagers Ronnie Edwards and Flynn Clarke are also unavailable, with the latter ruled out for the rest of the season.
Predicted line-up: Pym; Ward, Thompson, Beevers, Kent, Butler; Brown, Reed, Szmodics; Clarke-Harris and Dembele
Portsmouth have had a difficult month in terms of results, winning only twice in the past eight League One games, meaning they've dropped to seventh in the table.
Pompey enters today’s game with their last result a defeat in last season’s Papa John’s Trophy to Salford City at Wembley Stadium. On the back of that loss, Pompey parted company with manager Kenney Jackett; Joe Gallen takes temporary charge for tonight’s game at the Weston Homes Stadium.
Ferguson knows there is a slight mystery to how Pompey might play under different management but warns Posh should focus on their own performance instead of the opposition.
He said: "I watched the game on Saturday that Portsmouth was involved in, obviously things have changed since then with the manager departing and that always adds a bit of mystery in terms of what they will do formation and personnel wise, but it is about how we play, and we affect the game.
"Yes, we will look at Portsmouth, but we won’t go on about it. We know that we played well for the opening period against the league leaders last week, there are positives to take and the players were bubbly and raring to go in training. We have a few players nursing knocks and bruises, but we will see where we are on Tuesday."
It seems a lifetime ago, but when these two sides last met in December, it was the first game that welcomed 2,000 supporters back into Fratton Park.
Both sides struggled to create any clear-cut chances in the first half, but in the 61st minute, Pompey’s Jack Whatmough gave the hosts the lead with a bullet header from Lee Brown’s free-kick.
Captain Tom Naylor grabbed the three points for Pompey as he picked out the top corner with a 25-yard strike 15 minutes from time.
However, Posh recently welcomed Portsmouth to the Weston Homes Stadium in January in a Papa John’s Trophy fixture that saw Ferguson’s men thrash Pompey 5-1, albeit a slightly weaker team compared to Posh.
Posh does have a slightly good record coming into this evening's match, only losing once in the previous five games against Portsmouth.
Last five meetings
Posh 5-1 Portsmouth – Jan 2021 (EFL Trophy)
Portsmouth 2-0 Posh – Dec 2020
Posh 2-0 Portsmouth – Mar 2020
Portsmouth 2-2 Posh – Dec 2019
Portsmouth 2-3 Posh – Apr 2019
Posh need to get back to winning ways as quickly as possible, so hopefully the weeks’ rest has given key players a fresh of breath air before tonight’s game. Despite Portsmouth's terrible run of form, they still pose a threat and have some quality players within their squad that could turn-up at any moment.
Posh 2-0 Portsmouth