Football – England – League One
Tuesday 29th January 2013 – Kickoff: 1945hrs
Struggling Portsmouth take on mid-table Notts County at Fratton Park on Tuesday night as they look to bounce back from their miserable 1-3 home defeat to basement dwellers Hartlepool United on Saturday afternoon.
Portsmouth, once of Premiership status and FA Cup finalists are now seemingly in free-fall mode and they look almost resigned to their fate of dropping down into League Two which would be relegation in two consecutive seasons if the unthinkable does happen. The south coast side are in dire straits both on and off the field with their Supporters Club eager to buy the club and possess control of the concern, but this has been a long, drawn-out process and while it’s being resolved, Portsmouth have lost a few more key playing staff as the club look to ease their financial problems.
Striker and leading scorer Izale Mcleod (10 goals, 1 assist) has since left to return to his former club MK Dons and an influx of new players to the squad who haven’t played together at all along with players new to this level spells disaster in my book at this crucial stage in the season. It’s also a sad irony that logging onto Portsmouth’s website there’s an immediate link referring to bankruptcy while the sponsors are Jobsite.
Back to the results though and it’s now fourteen league matches without a win and confidence must have hit rock-bottom by now at Fratton Park as Pompey have now gone seven matches without a win at their famous ground.
Visitors Notts County suffered a 1-2 defeat at Leyton Orient at the weekend but they know they have a great chance of bouncing back with all three points at Portsmouth on Tuesday night albeit away from home, but they can close the gap on the play-off pack and still have an outside chance of making the top six.
The Magpies have lost just once on their travels all season which was at the weekend, but they’d previously been unbeaten on the road for the last nineteen league matches which is an incredible achievement at any level. The run had to come to an end at some time but as mentioned, they’ll know Portsmouth are very vulnerable right now and will look to take all the points back to Meadow Lane with them.
Notts County’s away record stands at 5-7-1 21/12 and they’ve performed well against lower half teams in the division with wins at Crewe 2-1, Bury 2-0, Carlisle United 4-0 and Colchester United 2-0 along with a win at Coventry City 2-1 back in October. Notts County also know that they have a golden opportunity to increase their points tally with this visit and their next match at Hartlepool.
Portsmouth are there for the taking right now and I was interested to see how they fared against woeful Hartlepool United – the result shows how deep the crisis is at Portsmouth and I don’t often back the away side but I’ll make an exception in this case and stick my neck out for Notts County to also cover the -1 handicap to boot. Could be a 2-0 or 3-1 win for The Magpies here I fear.
Pick: Notts County AH-1 @ 2.37 Pinnacle is irresistible!