Pompey and Derby take on Friday night spotlight
Two ex-Premier League sides meet at Fratton Park in the hope of cementing their place inside the third tier’s top six.
Pompey have been on the slide for a while, and it is clear that Danny Cowley is a little concerned about the direction they are heading in on the pitch.
That said, they should be able to rise to the occasion under the lights on the South Coast, and the visitors’ busy schedule may give them an advantage.
Looking at the market I initially wanted to side with Derby County heading into this fixture, however, they do not have a very strong second string and cup action has made their schedule tough to manage in the last few weeks.
The Rams take on Torquay United in an FA Cup first round replay on Tuesday evening before playing in the Friday evening slot, in what could be a cauldron atmosphere at Fratton Park it could be a game too far.
Pompey’s season-long data remains very strong and Cowley should take a lot of pride in how he has been able to set them up defensively, even in dealing with some key defensive injuries.
The hosts have conceded 18 goals from just 12.6 expected goals (xG) against, allowing just 0.79 xGA per game from 16 league encounters.
Going forward they are less convincing and that could be their downfall in pushing for promotion, with something of an over-reliance on Colby Bishop in the final third.
Derby have picked up under Paul Warne, and have looked particularly dangerous away from home, although setting up to be defensively solid may be their best way to yield a positive result, they may be running on fumes a touch with Pompey a little fresher with far greater preparation time for the match.
Initially I wanted to keep two outcomes onside and side with one team, but I cannot die Warne to come up with something special and inspire the side to three points.
However, in that I am more confident on goals with the talent that both sides have in the attacking third, it should be a cracking game.
Pompey have scored in nine of ten.
Pompey have conceded in eight of ten.
Pompey have seen both teams score in seven of ten.
Pompey have seen over 2.5 goals in four of ten.
Derby have scored in seven of ten.
Derby have conceded in seven of ten.
Derby have seen both teams score in six of ten.
Derby have seen over 2.5 goals in six of ten.