Bottom of the table Rochdale travel to the south coast to face playoff hopefuls Portsmouth, in an Easter weekend clash.
Rochdale are not a side to be underestimated, despite their position at the bottom of the league. They hold games in hand over a number of teams above, which if won could see them lifted out of the relegation zone.
They are also coming off the back of two impressive showings. A huge three points away to Lincoln, as well as holding title contenders Peterborough to a 3-3 draw a couple of weeks ago.
Barry-Murphy’s men may have been disappointed to only come away from that game with a point after their very late comeback was neutralised by a Jonson Clark-Harris penalty in stoppage time.Embed from Getty Images
Rochdale haven’t played a game since then after meetings with Swindon Town and AFC Wimbledon were postponed due to international call ups. Alongside a loss of momentum, Rochdale also possess the worst defensive record in the league, meaning they certainly won’t relish the trip to Fratton Park.
Pompey will look to capitalise on The Dale’s lack of match fitness and continue their recent run of good results. Since the Cowley’s took over the Blues are two for two in victories, with the most recent coming last weekend at Shrewsbury.
A tremendous showing in the first half demonstrated the improvements that Danny and Nicky have already made to the sides style of play. Two well-crafted team goals really highlighting what they can do when they look to knock the ball around. The victory took Pompey back into the playoffs and, with an upcoming favourable fixture list, they are certainly top contenders to stay there.
These two sides met in the second game of the season in a match where neither side could find the back of the net. However, a lot has changed since then, with both sides now at opposite ends of the table. It is very likely we will see a much more eventful showing than the previous uninspiring meeting.
Pompey will be left without a natural striker this weekend following an unsuccessful appeal to overturn last weeks sending off of John Marquis. Other options Jordy Hiwula and Ellis Harrison are both sidelined due to injuries.
Ronan Curtis could fill Portsmouth’s striker shaped hole as he returns from Irish international duty. A possibility of a new name on the team sheet could also be possible, with a number of academy players being involved in recent first-team training.
Rochdale will be without both Abraham Odoh and Jimmy Ryan following the two sustaining injuries. Top scorer Matty Lund is also ruled out with an ankle injury, whilst The Dale’s second highest scorer Stephen Humphrys is also a doubt.
Match Prediction: Portsmouth 4-0 Rochdale
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