Wanderers travel to the south coast this weekend for their latest Sky Bet League One fixture against Portsmouth at Fratton Park, with Keith Hill’s side looking to extend their unbeaten run to three matches with the search for a first league victory of the season continuing.
Portsmouth have had a slow start to the season and currently find themselves 20th in the league table, and inside the Sky Bet League One relegation zone. The expectations amongst the supporters are high after reaching the Play-Offs last season, and they will be hoping for their team to mount another promotion challenge this term.
Licking their wounds following a resounding 4-0 defeat to local rivals Southampton in the Carabao Cup during the week, Kenny Jackett’s men go in search for their second league win of the season and just their first since a 2-0 victory against Tranmere Rovers at Fratton Park on the second weekend of the 2019/20 campaign.
Jake Wright was replaced by Yoan Zouma in the latter stages of last weekend’s draw with Sunderland at the University of Bolton Stadium and he is considered an injury doubt for Saturday’s clash against Kenny Jackett’s men with a hamstring strain the issue for the central defender.
Daryl Murphy and Chris O’Grady move closer to a return to action with the strike duo still awaiting their Wanderers debut. Whether the pair will be involved at Portsmouth this weekend remains uncertain.
Ben Alnwick missed out on a place in the squad for last weekend’s fixture with an injury, with Matthew Alexander taking his place on the bench. Whether he will be fit to travel to Hampshire, also remains to be seen.
Head to Head
Wanderers and Portsmouth have faced each other on 97 occasions since the first encounter back in 1927, with us coming out on top in 42 of those meetings.
The two teams have drawn on 22 occasions and Portsmouth have 33 victories to their name in clashes between the two sides.
The last time the two teams met at Fratton Park was back in the days of the Premier League, in September 2009. Gary Cahill scored a late winner in a five-goal thriller, with Wanderers taking the lead on three separate occasions. Tamir Cohen opened the scoring in the first half before Younes Kaboul’s equaliser; a Matthew Taylor penalty restored Wanderers’ advantage before the break.
Kevin-Prince Boateng equalised for the home side just after the hour mark before Cahill’s late winner sent Wanderers back to the North West with three points in the bag.
As usual, match updates will be provided by the club’s official twitter account (@OfficialBWFC). We will keep you up to date with the action to ensure you don’t miss a kick – delivering a match report shortly after the final whistle with post-match reaction from manager, Keith Hill.
Live commentary will also be available by the iFollow BWFC channel (subscribe via the website), with the BBC Radio Manchester team providing the coverage.
Portsmouth are the favourites heading into this one. The home side are fancied to take all three points by Sky Bet and are priced at 1/4.
Wanderers are priced at 10/1 to register a first victory of the 2019/20 campaign and you can get the draw at 17/4.
Man in the Middle:
Darren Drysdale will be the referee for Saturday’s Sky Bet League One clash with Portsmouth.
The Lincolnshire based referee has officiated ten matches this season with his latest a goalless draw between Forest Green Rovers and Stevenage in Sky Bet League Two last weekend.
This season, he has dished out 39 yellow cards and 1 red card.
The last time he was in charge of a Wanderers clash was back in February 2017 when Phil Parkinson’s side beat Walsall 4-1 at the University of Bolton Stadium en route to promotion from Sky Bet League One. Gary Madine, Liam Trotter and Chris Long found the net on that afternoon with James O’Connor scoring an own goal.
Stuart Butler and Stephen Brown will act as his assistants, with Adrian Waters the fourth official for Saturday afternoon’s fixture.
Key Men for Pompey:
Portsmouth lost the services of last season’s top scorer Jamal Lowe (13 goals) to Wigan Athletic but Kenny Jackett managed to recruit John Marquis from fellow Sky Bet League One side, Doncaster Rovers.
Marquis bagged 26 goals last season for the South Yorkshire club and he has scored twice for Portsmouth so far this season.
With goals spread throughout the team last season, Republic of Ireland international Ronan Curtis found the net 12 times and he will be a key member of the team once again this season. He has scored twice so far this season, with the 23 year-old looking to increase his profile both on the club stage and the international stage.
Brett Pitman is an experienced striker who is always likely to score goals at this level, and Ben Close is a player who seems to get better and better each season, playing in central midfield. The 23 year-old academy graduate also has two goals to his name so far this season.
There will be no Pay on the Day option for Wanderers supporters at Fratton Park, so tickets must be purchased before 2pm on Friday afternoon.
Tickets for the fixture are still available from the Bolton Central Ticket Office and are priced as follows:
Over 65s: £18.00
Under 23s: £16.00
Ambulant Disabled: £16.00 (not available online)
Under 18s: £7.00
Wheelchair users will need to contact the Portsmouth Ticket Office on 0345 646 1898 to purchase their tickets. Wheelchair & carer bays are located amongst the home supporters wheelchair section, in front of the Fratton End.
Official coach travel is also available, costing £29.00 per person. All coaches depart from the University Of Bolton Stadium at 7:30am.