A look ahead to tomorrow's League One match at Fratton Park...
Walsall and Portsmouth are side-by-side in the League One standings, having each won one and lost one of their opening two games. The Saddlers will be keen to build on last week’s encouraging 2-1 comeback win over Oldham and record back-to-back victories for the first time since March. Newly-promoted Pompey were beaten 3-0 by Oxford in their last league match and will be looking for a response, in what will be the first meeting between the sides in over four years. The Fratton Park club were crowned League Two champions last season and have won six of their last seven home league games.
PORTSMOUTH RESULTS 2017/18:
Fulham U21s (H) 3-3* – Checkatrade Trophy
Oxford (A) 0-3
Cardiff (A) 1-2 AET – Carabao Cup
Rochdale (H) 2-0
*Lost 4-2 on penalties
FINAL STANDINGS 2016/17:
Portsmouth: 1st in League Two – P46 W26 D9 L11 F79 A40 PTS87
Walsall: 14th in League One – P46 W14 D16 L16 F51 A58 PTS58
4th January 2013 – Walsall 2-0 Portsmouth
Febian Brandy scored one and made one as in-form Walsall condemned struggling Portsmouth to a fourth successive defeat. The ex-Manchester United man put the Saddlers ahead on 29 minutes with a cool far-post finish from close range. Dean Smith’s men made it 2-0 on the cusp of half-time when Will Grigg bundled home a rebound after Brandy’s effort was saved by Simon Eastwood. Walsall could have won by more, but Grigg and Craig Westcarr both wasted good chances in the second half.
Portsmouth wins: 10
Walsall wins: 7
OPPOSITION IN FOCUS:
Portsmouth Manager: Kenny Jackett
The 55-year-old has twice led sides to promotion from League One, firstly Millwall via the play-offs in 2010 and then Wolves as champions in 2014. The former Wales and Watford defender spent three years with Swansea, winning League Two promotion in 2005 and the Football League Trophy in 2007. He spent just 39 days in charge of Rotherham last season and was appointed Pompey boss on a four-year deal in June, replacing Paul Cook.
Portsmouth Star Man: Brett Pitman
New club captain who scored two debut goals in Portsmouth’s opening-day victory over Rochdale. The Jersey-born 29-year-old enjoyed two successful spells with Bournemouth, scoring 102 goals in 301 appearances and helping them win promotions from League Two to the Premier League. He spent two years with Ipswich before joining Portsmouth for an undisclosed fee in July.
WALSALL TEAM NEWS
Midfielder Flo Cuvelier is available after missing the Oldham match through illness.
Devon-based Huxtable has taken charge of three matches so far in 2017/18. He refereed a total of 38 matches last term, issuing 140 yellow cards and five red. His last Walsall game was our surprise 1-0 home defeat to non-league Macclesfield in an FA Cup first-round tie last November.
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