Checkatrade Trophy: Portsmouth v Bristol Rovers Match Preview

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By Simon Gray

In the final group match day of the Checkatrade trophy, both Portsmouth and Bristol Rovers can still go through to the knockout stages.

Both Pompey and Rovers need to win the fixture to have any chance of going through and need Reading U23’s to beat Yeovil in the other match that will be played on Wednesday 9th November.

Pompey go into the game on the back of a 2-1 home defeat to Wycombe on the weekend that saw them crash out of the FA Cup. Rovers drew 1-1 away at Crawley and will therefore need a replay to progress to round two.

Both sides are expected to make a number of changes for tonight’s match. Liam O’Brien, Jack Whatmough, Tom Davies and Kal Naismith are all in the running to feature for Pompey.

Kieran O’Brien is expected to play in goal after making his two previous appearances for the club in the competition, which has come under increasing pressure as it has gone on but the goalkeeper has said he does not care what the competition is as long as he is representing Portsmouth.

‘This is a chance for me to play games for the club,’ he told Portsmouth News.

‘You sign for Pompey and you want to play for Pompey, whether at the training ground or in a league game.

‘I am wearing a Pompey shirt, I don’t care the competition.

‘In training, in the 11v11, I want to be on the weaker team because I want to have things to do, it’s one of those things as a keeper.

‘Tonight I want to have things to do. I don’t want to have 90 minutes with nothing to do and don’t get the result, it is so frustrating.‘I am doing everything I can to get into the first-team and, if I get the chance, I will take it.’

Rovers, who have had a virus hit them in the past few days will make wholesale changes. Both Lee Mansell and Charlie Colkett are confirmed to have fully recovered from the illness and other changes to the starting XI are expected.

One man who is also relishing a chance to play in the under-fire competition is Rovers loanee Luke James. The striker, who has had limited opportunities in the first team so far this season played the whole of the last match in the competition against Yeovil and is hoping for another chance to shine.

Speaking to the Bristol Post, James said: “I hope that I will get some game time at Portsmouth so that I get another opportunity to show the manager what I can do.

“I’ve been doing extra bits in training and the reserve games have helped as well, but there is nothing like playing in competitive games.

“You just have to keep ticking over so that you are ready when and if the call comes.

“I’ve had to be patient but I know that my chance will come and hopefully I’ll be able to take it with both hands.”

Stats

Portsmouth have not won at home since September 24th and that was when they beat Barnet 5-1.

The last meeting between the two sides ended Pompey 3-1 Rovers in February this year.

Bristol Rovers’ last away win at Portsmouth came in October 1975.

21, Bristol Rovers fan for as long as i can remember. Highlight has to be to 06/07 Play Off win. Seen Rovers at 43/92 clubs in England and counting.

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