By Jon Harries
Well it’s been a good week of results on the pitch, even if there’s a couple more potential injuries and International call ups going into Saturday, but more on that later. A point against the then League One table toppers Ipswich Town could and probably should have been more. Going behind to a scrappy Jon Nolan goal in the 7th minute, the Dons took a while to grow into the game, with Carlton Morris and Joe Mason both having good chances in the first half.
The second half was much better with the intensity, commitment, and desire getting us a deserved equaliser after Lasse Sorensen crossed, the Ipswich defence misjudged the flight of the ball, and Daniel Harvie pounced to score a great goal with his weaker foot. A more ruthless side might have dispatched Ipswich particularly when the last twenty minutes Ipswich were down to ten men through injuries. The Dons backed the result up on Tuesday night with a 3-2 win away at Stevenage (Yes, an away win) with Carlton Morris and Jay Bird (2) with the goals in this Leasing.Com fixture.
Ahead of Saturday Portsmouth have also had a positive week. A 4-2 win away at Burton Albion with Marcus Harness and Whatmough with the goals, backed up with a 3-0 away win at struggling Southend in the Leasing.Com Trophy with goals from John Marquis and Ronan Curtis.
After a slow start where they didn’t score for the first two League 1 games and their season or more long undefeated streak at Fratton Park came to an end at home to Wigan, it seems like Kenny Jackett is turning the corner with probably one of the strongest teams in League 1, but the pressure is still on him with the Pompey faithful still unhappy and demanding more.
With Alex Bass and Craig MacGillivray, they have two strong goalkeepers, either one would be first choice for most clubs at this level.
In ex Dons “Cult Hero” of sorts Paul Downing and Tom Naylor they have plenty of experience in the EFL. Rasmus Nicolaisen recently recruited on loan from Midtjylland provides solid backup. Andy Cannon and Michael Jacobs provide the guile and creativity in midfield and with Curtis and Harness on either flank (the latter a hat trick hero against his former club last Saturday) they are adaptable in a 442 or 4321 formation, and of course in case you need reminding strikers Marquis, Ellis, and Harrison are capable of goals at this level, Marquis in particular has a penchant for scoring against us.
Keeping Ronan Curtis contained is the key to the game.
Much of this game will be on whether the Dons can keep tabs on Ronan Curtis. The enigmatic wide man likes to drift in from the flank and be the main man. Creativity and goals are his obvious strengths although if he’s starved of the ball, he can become frustrated as demonstrated in the game at Stadium MK last season. I really rate him as a player, and he could play at a much higher level, so George Williams and Callum Brittain are going to have to be on top form on Saturday.
Predicted Line Up
Brittain – Williams – Keogh – Lewington – Cargill
Kasumu – Sorensen – Fraser
Morris – Mason
My prediction again this week unfortunately is a 3-1 loss, Morris with our consolation goal but hopefully I will be wrong again.
I just feel Portsmouth at home are on the whole alongside our current 16 game League One away winless streak much the better team.
I do though genuinely hope we win and the sooner the better.
Team News – Agard continues his rehabilitation, O’Hora suffered a clash of heads on Tuesday against Stevenage, and as per the regulations for any head injury he had to come off, but there is no reason why he can’t be considered for selection and will travel to Fratton Park.
Regan Poole is on Under 21’s duty with Wales in their game versus Belgium, as is Daniel Harvie with the Scotland Under 21’s squad in their game against the Czech Republic.
Sam Nombe suffered an apparent dead leg on Tuesday night at the Lamex but will probably be available for selection, unless it turns out to be something more serious.
The absence of Hiram Boateng continues to be a mystery as he is not mentioned when discussing injuries or featuring in the Leasing Dot Com games.
Enjoy the game.
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