Portsmouth vs Tranmere Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 09 August 2019

Pompey will be looking to build on their League Cup win on Saturday and take their first three points of the season against Tranmere Rovers at Fratton Park.

Team News

Ross McCrorie returns from his suspension following his dismissal at Shrewsbury whilst John Marquis is available again following the birth of his second child. James Bolton, Ryan Williams and Bryn Morris are all still injured alongside Jack Whatmough who isn't expected to return until October.

Jake Caprice (ankle), Mark Ellis (knee), Evan Gumbs (knee) and Ishmael Miller (hamstring) are all sidelined for the visitors, with Rushian Hepburn-Murphy suspended following a late red card in last weekend's home defeat to Rochdale.

The Match

Whilst last Saturday's opening day defeat was disappointing, given the amount of possession and missed chances Kenny Jackett's men created coupled with the fact they lost to a one-in-a-million wondergoal, Pompey fans' spirits won't have been dampened too much.

Those spirits have been lifted further by Pompey's performance and eventual comfortable win over Birmingham in the League Cup on Tuesday. After a sluggish start, Pompey's high-tempo pressing game won over some of Jackett's critics whilst Ellis Harrison's brace also silenced some doubters.

Ben Close also scored a beauty during that match and it would be harsh to drop the midweek goalscorers in favour of McCrorie and Marquis but the latter will surely start given his stature. There's the possibility of Ellis and John starting together up front in a 4-4-2 but that would probably be too bold for Jackett.

What we could see is a 4-3-3 formation deployed similar to Tuesday night with Harrison playing wide and Harness playing in the hole instead of Andy Cannon who may also feel like he did enough to keep his place on Tuesday despite the mixed reviews.

At least the back five should pick itself unless Nathan Thompson surprisingly signs for the Blues after training with them despite Jackett claiming he isn't interested in re-signing the right back. It would be a surprise but perhaps not that unexpected given how the Pompey manager keeps his cards close to his chest.

As for Tranmere, they come to Fratton Park having lost their opening game of the season too, losing 3-2 at home to Rochdale. Two late goals made that defeat seem more narrow than it truly was and Pompey need to pressure the Rovers defence from the first minute before they get a foothold in the game and begin to frustrate the Blues.

Fratton Park should be sold out for this fixture and hopefully the fans will be treated to another quality performance and another victory providing the forecast wind doesn't cause chaos on the pitch tomorrow.

Let's leave the chaos to the Pompey frontmen.

Predicted Pompey XI

GK: Craig MacGILLIVRAY

RB: Anton WALKES

CB: Christian BURGESS

CB: Paul DOWNING

LB: Lee BROWN

CM: Tom NAYLOR

CM: Ben CLOSE

CM: Ross McCRORIE

RWF: Marcus HARNESS

LWF: Ronan CURTIS

CF: John MARQUIS

Memorable Match: Portsmouth 3 Tranmere Rovers 2 (League Two - 24/02/2015)

Jennison Byrie-Williams gave the visitors an early lead and that was doubled five minutes into the second half when Joe Devera's clearance ricoheted off the lurking Kayode Odejayi and goalkeeper Paul Jones for a farcical own goal.

However, Rovers were hit by a late triple combo as Craig Westcarr pulled one back and then a brace from Ryan Taylor turned the game completely on its head. The result gave the most optimistic Pompey fans the most unrealistic hopes of a late charge for the play-offs whilst the damaging defeat for Tranmere helped them get relegated to non-league.

My Prediction

Pompey to get off to a winning start but made to work hard for it by a Tranmere team still finding its feet in the third tier and without James Norwood.

Portsmouth 2 Tranmere Rovers 0

Portsmouth Match Reports

Sky Bet League One Sat 19th October 14:00

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