It’s EFL Trophy time! Or as it used to be known, the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
The new look cup competition, which has widely received criticism, will feature all 48 sides from League One and League Two, as well as 16 ‘Category One Academies’- these include the likes of Chelsea, Everton, Leicester and Scum…
There will be 16 regional groups of 4 teams, with the top two from each group progressing into the knock out stages.
Pompey will first visit Yeovil, before then facing Bristol Rovers and a Reading U23s side.
Nearly all Football League fans opposed the decision to restructure the tournament, this has been reflected by ticket sales- Pompey for example will only take around 100 fans to Somerset tonight.
Pompey do head into the cup clash in good mood however, following back to back victories against Colchester and Exeter.
The same cannot be said for the Glovers, who are currently on the back of a 4 game losing streak.
Vital Quotes: League Priority
Paul Cook has reiterated that League Two is Pompey’s absolute priority.
Promotion is almost expected of Pompey this year, as always, therefore the opposed EFL Trophy isn’t high on the list of concern.
Cookie said: “We`ll always do what we feel is best for this club and the competition`s not high on my list of priorities.
“The league is our bread and butter, with the FA Cup second and this is now our third because we`re out of the League Cup.
“The changes have been made to benefit football by integrating the Premier League teams and whether I agree with that or not is irrelevant.
“There are arguments for and against it and, with the changes to the loan window, I`m sure the number of games will catch up with some teams.
“There`s a final at Wembley and that pot of the gold is great – it`s just about the damage it might do to you getting there.’
Yeovil Town Team News:
Yeovil will be without Ryan Hedges, who is away on international duty, and have Ryan Dickson (ankle), Josh Ezewele (knee), Alex Lacey (arm), Darren Ward (knee) and Francois Zoko (hip) on the sidelines.
Player to watch: Francois Zoko
He’s been a thorn in our side before…
Pompey Team News:
Liam O’Brien is set to start in goal for Pompey following David Forde’s call up to the ROI squad.
After graduating from the academy, O’Brien failed to make an appearance before leaving the club, however after his recent return and Forde’s absence, his boy hood dreams are set to be fulfilled.
Matt Clarke will also likely feature for the Blues after recovering from a groin injury that has ruled him out since his permanent move to Fratton in the summer, following his successful loan spell from Ipswich.
He will not be joined by fellow defenders Adam Buxton, Brandon Haunstrup and Jack Whatmough however, because of their respective ankle, collarbone and knee injuries.
The team is likely to be different from the recent previous, with Cook indicating his little concern for the EFL Trophy, therefore younger/fringe players will likely earn starts this evening.
Player to watch: Conor Chaplin
Chaplin is yet to find the net this season, mainly due to the limited game time he’s currently received.
Tonight could be only his second start this season, with several sub appearances being his only game time.
Many of the Fratton Faithful hold the forward in high regard, with his local boy status doing that no harm, so it’s likely Chaplin will aim to make his mark tongiht.
Match Facts & Stats
Pompey and Yeovil have only ever crossed paths 5 times competitively.
2 of those meetings have been won by Pompey, both of those being at Huish Park.
Last season’s league fixtures ended up with points shared on both occasions, following a stalemate at Fratton and a 1-1 draw in Somerset.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Hawk
What with Pompey’s strength in depth, I feel whatever side we line up with tonight will do the job to help us progress.
I predict a 1-3 away victory for the Blues, hopefully putting smiles on the faces of the 100 or so protesters heading to the match.
Next Fixtures: Crawley Away
Pompey host Crawley this Saturday afternoon in the 6th round of matches in League Two.
Pompey are just one place and one point ahead of the incoming visitors.