James Heneghan's Portsmouth v Northampton Town preview

Fratton Park.Fratton Park.
Fratton Park.
Fixture: Portsmouth v Northampton Town, Sky Bet League One

Date/time: Tuesday, October 27, 7.45pm kick-off

Venue: Fratton Park

Outs and doubts: Portsmouth: Michael Jacobs, Ellis Harrison. Cobblers: Joseph Mills, Joe Nuttall, Scott Pollock

Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett.Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett.
Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett.

Betting: Pompey 2/5, draw 7/2, Northampton 15/2

Form guide: Pompey WWLWWW, Cobblers LWLLWL

Current league positions: 5th v 19th

Possible line-ups: Portsmouth (4-4-2): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Williams, Naylor, Cannon, Curtis; Harness, Marquis. Northampton (3-4-1-2): Mitchell; Bolger, Martin, Horsfall; Harriman, Watson, Missilou, Marshall; Ashley-Seal, Smith.

Man in the middle: Trevor Kettle

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Last time out: Sunderland 1 Portsmouth 3 (Harness, Marquis 2); Northampton 0 Charlton 2

Most recent meeting: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - Portsmouth 2 (Maloney, Harness) Northampton 1 (Harriman)

Record v Portsmouth: P36 W10 D7 L19

Opposition view: “They will be looking to get a foothold in this division – as you always need to do when you go up," said Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. “There will be some adjustments and you might lose a few players, but they’ve got an experienced manager and will want to turn a corner.”

James Heneghan's preview: If the Cobblers were hoping for some respite from their sticky spell with a nice, gentle fixture, it's unlikely to come at Fratton Park this evening.

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A trip to an in-form and confident Portsmouth side is about as tough as it gets at this level, and whilst Kenny Jackett's men may have been slow out of the traps initially with one win in their first six in all competitions, things have taken a significant turn for the better since.

Pompey are on a run of five wins in six matches and go into tonight's game full of confidence having brushed aside promotion rivals Sunderland at the weekend, former Town man John Marquis netting twice in an impressive performance at the Stadium of Light. Currently fifth, this might finally be the year they end their stay in the third tier.

That said, it's not all plain-sailing for Jackett's side. It might have something to do with the lack of fans but Fratton Park isn't the fortress it has been in the past. After going unbeaten at home throughout the entirety of last season, Pompey have already lost twice on their own turf this term, beaten by Wigan and Doncaster.

They did defeat MK Dons last time out but Jackett believes the absence of the famous Fratton Park atmosphere is hurting his team. “There hasn’t been a clear advantage to playing at home for us and there are some decisions that, I think, would have gone our way with a crowd in," he said.

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“That goes right the way back to the first half of that Oxford game in the play-offs, but it is the same for everybody and so it evens out. We have to make sure we adapt and I believe that if you’re the best team on the day, then most of the time you’ll win.”

But Pompey are still odds-on with the bookies this evening which is yet another reflection of the serious step up in quality the Cobblers are facing this term. After tonight, they will have already played four - Charlton, Hull, Peterborough and Portsmouth - of the most fancied sides in their first nine games this season.

Town do have a kinder run of fixtures on the horizon but that does not guarantee kinder results and therefore Keith Curle will not see any game, even a daunting-looking trip to the south coast, as a free hit.

Prediction: Portsmouth 2 Northampton 0

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