So… We back! Firstly, apologies for the absence of previews over the previous weeks, but never fear- they’re back!
Onto Pompey, of which you’re now all hoping:
The Blues battle Championship promotion-contenders Ipswich for the prize of a home tie against Bournemouth in the 4th round of the FA Cup.
Following the 2-2 draw at Portman Road in which Pompey outplayed the Tractor Boys for large amounts of the game, it’s a 2nd chance for both sides to progress into the next round of England’s most famous cup, in which Premier League opposition awaits.
Pompey fans will feel rather robbed after coming from behind to lead 2-1 thanks to neat finishes from Kyle Bennett and Conor Chaplin with just 3 minutes to go. The late equaliser from Ryan Fraser forcing a reply rather undeserved in the eyes of many, including Town boss Mick McCarthy – who himself admitted that Pompey largely outplayed his side 11 days ago.
The result wasn’t the desired one by either side, both managers admitting that league success was the main aim. Both promotion hopefuls had said that a loss wouldn’t be the worst outcome, with big games in the coming weeks.
However with the opportunity to clash with Premier League opposition, Paul Cook has revealed there is no holding back from Pompey, although the same has not been said by McCarthy…
Vital Quotes: Big Guns are ready
Paul Cook has already named Christian Burgess, Gary Roberts and Adam Barton as starters in the upcoming tie.
Cookie says minutes on the pitch are needed, following Saturday’s postponed game at Accrington.
And now he says it’s time for Pompey’s bigger players to get back on the pitch and win Pompey this tie.
Pompey Team News:
Christian Burgess is back in the line-up after a spell out over the festive period.
He’s set to resume his partnership with Adam Webster with Matt Clare ineligible to perform against his old club.
Pompey’s squad is nearly fully fit after an 11 day break, however the Blues will be without Danny Hollands, who fractured his fibia in the in initial tie.
Paul Jones is still out long-term with his knee injury, however fellow keeper Brian Murphy is set to make his first start since signing a new contract at the club.
Player to watch: The Team
I don’t think one player will win this for us tonight- the whole team will have to be at their best form to knock out the Championship outfit.
Yet if they play like they did in the original clash, many fans will have their money on a comfortable Pompey win after being the far better side on the trip to Portman Road.
Many Ipswich fans leaked that the football played in the cup tie was some of the best they’ve seen at home all season, with their side failing to really excite despite sitting just one spot outside the promotion places in England’s 2nd tier.
Pompey, who have also had their fair share of frustration at home will look to repeat their form and continue a recent home resurgence following some good home form recently that has seen them win 4 of the last 5 and scoring 14 goals and keeping clean sheets in all of them.
Ipswich Town Team News:
McCarthy has conceded his minimal wish to proceed into the next round and therefore is set to line-up a young side so they can gain experience.
Even more so, a big promotion game on Saturday the real deal, whatever result, McCarthy will deal with it.
He has already confirmed Cole Skuse, Christophe Berra and Luke Chambers are unlikely to be risked after taking knocks.
Player to watch: Ryan Fraser
Town’s saving grace in the first game, former Bournemouth man Fraser may earn himself a start tonight after his equaliser and influential role in Ipswich’s slight revival in the 2nd half of the previous meeting.
A special incentive for him to perform well also, with the chance to face his former club in the next round.
Match Facts & Stats
Pompey’s domination in the first game, highlighted by 67% possession in the first half isn’t reflective of the history between the two sides
Throughout history, Pompey have won 11, drawn 12 and lost 19 vs the Tractor Boys
At Fratton, the record is even worse, with just 3 victories and 10 losses.
Yet the encouragement will be the 2-2, and Pompey will likely live off that for the coming weeks and tonight.
With the young side set to play against Pompey, I can see our side take full advantage and see of the visitors good and proper this time.
Also, the return of key players Burgess and Roberts only add to the strength of the side ready to set up a new tie vs Bournemouth- the closest Pompey will get to a big derby for the next couple of seasons at least
Next Fixtures: Oxford HOME
A big game this Saturday, with the Blues hosting Appy’s side in a big game at the top of League Two.
Pompey are 4 points behind the visitors with a game in hand, but a win at Fratton this weekend could see the Blues really announce their promotion and still title ambitions.