Match Preview: Portsmouth v Northampton Town

Portsmouth v Northampton Town

The Cobblers are back on the road on Saturday with the daunting task of taking on the side who came to Sixfields in December and handed us a 3-0 defeat. Portsmouth were full value for that win and it’s going to take a huge effort from Jon Brady’s side if we’re to get anything at all from a trip to the south coast.

It was a quiet deadline day for Town on Thursday and, with major question marks over injuries heading into this one, it’s hard to see just how we come away from Fratton Park with any joy. On the other hand, we’ve been the masters of defying the odds on the road this season so if the home side come into it with any kind of complacency we could find ourselves making more memories in the mold of Blackpool, Lincoln and Charlton.

For Pompey, the need for points to solidify their promotion push is high and they have no room for error with plenty of teams breathing down their necks.

The Opposition

Since beating the Cobblers back in December, Portsmouth’s form has seen the gap between themselves and the chasing pack at the top of League One close up. Important victories over fellow promotion hopefuls Bolton and Stevenage have been mixed in with surprise defeats at the likes of Cheltenham and Leyton Orient as well as dropped points against bottom club Fleetwood and struggling Exeter. 

John Mousinho hasn’t panicked, though, and his side still seem well equipped for the final push for a promotion that Pompey fans have been craving for many years. This is their seventh season in League One since promotion in 2017 and their ambitious fans, hoping to see their club back among the elite, will be desperate for them to finish the job having started so well.

It’s been a busy window for them with reinforcements drafted in to help them make that final step up and to cover injuries. Star loanee Alex Robertson has been ruled out for the season with a hamstring injury but they’ve brought in Wigan’s Callum Lang and Carlisle’s Owen Moxon this week to add to goalkeeper Matt Macey and defender Tom McIntyre.

There’s no doubt that Pompey will be right up there come May but a lot relies on those chasing them and how they do in their games in hand as to whether this sleeping giant ascends to the Championship automatically.

Last Time Out

The Cobblers lost 2-0 at home to Shrewsbury Town last weekend while Pompey were in action on Tuesday night, drawing 2-2 at Oxford United.

One To Watch

Callum Lang was added to the Portsmouth ranks this week with the Wigan man signing ahead of Tuesday’s game. He then proceeded to come off the bench to dance his way through the Oxford defence and fire in a debut goal, showing his new fans exactly what he’s all about. 

Lang had been at Wigan since 2013, moving on a number of loans before making his Latics debut in 2019. He went on to become one of their key players and has real quality going forward with top scorer Colby Bishop surely licking his lips at linking up with him.

Team News

Pompey recently lost loanee Alex Robertson to a hamstring injury with the exciting midfielder ruled out for the season. Callum Lang came off the bench on Tuesday so may get his first start here along with deadline day signing Owen Moxen and defender Tom McIntyre, signed from Reading. Striker Kusini Yengi is away with Australia in the Asia Cup while Tino Anjorin will be out until March with a hamstring injury
 
Jon Brady was tight lipped again on injury news but hopes to have at least one of his injured group back for the trip to Fratton Park. Aaron McGowan was withdrawn against Shrewsbury with a groin problem to add to the eight injuries currently blighting the Cobblers boss.
 

Line-Up Prediction

Match Officials

Sam Purkiss is in the middle at Fratton Park. Purkiss’ last Cobblers game was our EFL Trophy defeat at MK back in November. Adrian Tranter and Sean Rothwell are running the lines and James Vallance is fourth official.

Prediction

I hate being negative about our chances but I can’t see us coming away from this one with anything given our injuries and how impressive Pompey looked in the reverse fixture. 3-1 Pompey

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