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Match Preview: Portsmouth vs Scunthorpe United

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The Iron make the long trip down to the south coast to face playoff rivals Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Saturday.

Scunthorpe come into the fixture on the back of a solid festive period, in which they picked up ten points from their four matches, including a 1-0 home win over Bury in their last game. Meanwhile, Pompey picked up two wins in their four matches and were unfortunate to be knocked out of the Checkatrade Trophy at the hands of Chelsea U23s in midweek.

Graham Alexander has no fresh injury worries, but his side will definitely be without Sam Mantom for the clash, while Jordan Clarke and Jonny Margetts are out for the next few months. Luke Williams and captain Rory McArdle are back in training, but only McArdle is potentially available with Williams still two weeks from a return. Alexander said he was hopeful of having Andrew Crofts back on the training pitch yesterday.

There has been a lot going on behind the scenes at Glanford Park since the Iron last played, with midfielders Cameron McGeehan and Ryan Yates joining on loan, while striker Ivan Toney has returned for his second loan stint at the club. Paddy Madden left United to join Fleetwood Town last week.

The Scunthorpe boss has to decide whether to stick with the side that saw off Bury or if he should draft any of the new signings into the lineup. Neal Bishop is pushing for a recall after he missed the Christmas period and was then only employed from the bench against the Shakers.

The Iron will have to be strong defensively if they are to pick up a result at Fratton Park, and centre-half Charlie Goode will be looking to build upon his match-winning goal on New Years Day.

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Charlie Goode after scoring against Bury

Pompey Team News

Portsmouth are having a solid first season back in League One, as they currently sit sixth in the table. Kenny Jackett’s side have won seven out of their last ten league matches and will be hoping to close the eight-point gap on Scunthorpe.

The Pompey manager confirmed that central midfielder Stuart O’Keefe will remain sidelined for the next four-to-six weeks with an ongoing groin injury. Danny Rose is out for the season, while Gareth Evans, Jack Whatmough and Milan Lalkovic are all ruled out.

Midfielder Ben Close and defender Nathan Thompson both got injured on Tuesday against Chelsea U23s and only have a 50 percent chance of being fit.

The danger man for Portsmouth is Brett Pitman. The Pompey captain had a poor game at Glanford Park earlier in the season but has been in fine form at home, where he has registered 11 of his 14 goals in all competitions. Pitman will look to play in the space in front of the United defence and pull the strings for his side.

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Pompey danger man Brett Pitman

Previous Matches

The Iron have an excellent recent record against Portsmouth, having won four of their last six matches and losing just once.

In May 2011, the pair played out a 1-1 draw at Glanford Park when they were both in the Championship. It would be two seasons later before they met again, and Pompey ran out 2-1 victors at Fratton Park before Scunthorpe won 2-1 in the reverse fixture. The next encounter saw the sides meet in League Two, where United did the double over Portsmouth with a 2-1 away victory and a 5-1 home thrashing. In the latest clash between the club’s earlier this season, the Iron won 2-0 at Glanford Park.

Scunthorpe will be hoping to extend their solid recent record over Pompey and record a win at Fratton Park on Saturday.

Written by James Murray

Aspiring journalist and Scunthorpe United fan studying at the London South Bank University.

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