Swindon Town travel to Fratton Park on Tuesday night looking for a confidence boosting win after a disappointing home performance against Shrewsbury Town.
Another disappointing despondent home performance on Saturday, it has been the story of this season and especially under John Sheridan. Sheridan has been in charge since early October and the football under him has gone backwards and not forwards. We are regressing under his stewardship and its painful to watch. The football is not pretty on the eye, after spending the previous 18 months or so being dazzled by Wellensball. This football under John Sheridan is of a bygone era, its worse than the football watched under David Flitcroft and Phil Brown.
After the excellent hard-fought win in mid-week at home to Wigan Athletic, I had hope in this Swindon Town side to eek out a result on Saturday against another side who is hovering outside the bottom 4. That hope was wiped away soon as Harry Chapman opened the scoring for Shrewsbury and won them the game. It was a pathetic abject performance where the tactics were horrifically wrong. It felt like I was watching a game of from the mid 90’s, playing 4-4-2 and hitting long balls into the channels. The game was crying out for a bit of creativity and spark in the midfield, sadly that player got sent back to Arsenal for “footballing reasons”, now Matt Smith is applying his trade at Charlton Athletic where Lee Bowyer will cherish him more and get the best out of him. The tactics are outdated by John Sheridan it is a bygone of 25-30 years ago, football has evolved but sadly he is stuck in the past.
This season has been a car crash from start to finish on and off the pitch, it got worse on Saturday with two more fresh injuries in Jordan Lyden and Conor Masterson. Defensive injuries have hampered us this season and it will not get any better. It feels like all the hard work done in the previous 18 months has been ripped away by some inept coaching and we are getting dragged down into mediocre again. I do not think I have seen a disconnect between the club and its fans for a couple of years now and the hatred that the fans are giving the owner and the manager is back and worse than ever. The atmosphere between the club and its fans are utter toxic now and it will not get any better.
Predicted Line up XI 4-2-3-1
Travers, Hunt, Odimayo, Conroy, Thompson, Palmer, Missilou, Garrick, Payne, Hope, Pitman
Portsmouth is in 5th position in the league one table with 45 points from 25 games, 3 points behind Doncaster in second place and further 3 points behind the league leaders in league one Lincoln City. Start to 2021 has not been the greatest for Portsmouth in their fight to gain promotion back to the Championship after failing in the play-offs last season to Oxford United. 4 defeats in their last 8 games in all competitions to kick start 2021, Defeats to both Bristol City in the FA Cup and Peterborough 5-1 in the EFL trophy were followed by two wins, 1-0 at Fleetwood Town and a 4-0 home win over AFC Wimbledon. What followed was back-to-back defeats at home to then the top two in the division of Hull City and Lincoln Town. The last two games in the league have seen Portsmouth pick up 4 points, a 3-1 away win at Charlton Athletic and a come from behind 2-2 draw at home to Plymouth Argyle which included two goals from Portsmouth in the 86th and 87th minute to salvage a point.
Kenny Jackett has been quite flexible in his tactics and his set up at Portsmouth in recent weeks as he is trying to find the right balance. The last 4 games in the league have seen Jackett set up in a 4-4-2, in previous weeks we have seen him set up in a 4-2-3-1, 3-5-2 and then gone back to the 4-4-2 in the games in December.
The three key players to watch out for in this Portsmouth side are John Marquis, Marquis has been involved in 15 goals in 25 league one games this season. 11 goals and 4 assists, but he has not scored in his last 4 starts for the club. Last scored on the 19th January in Portsmouth 4-0 win against AFC Wimbledon. The second player to watch out for is Marcus Harness, Harness has been involved in 11 goals in his 25 league one games this season. 5 goals and 6 assists, Harness started the season strongly with 5 goals in his first 9 league appearances. That was followed with 0 in his next 16 league appearances. Harness has managed to pick up two assists in his last two games. The third and final player to watch out for is Republic of Ireland International Ronan Curtis, Curtis has been involved in 9 goals in 22 league appearances with 5 goals and 4 assists. The last of his assists came at the weekend in the 2-2 draw against Plymouth Argyle. The last of his 5 goals was a double against Crewe Alexandra on the 21st of November in Portsmouth 4-1 home win over David Artell side.
This is going to be another tough game for Swindon Town away at Portsmouth in the fight for survival in league one. A big performance is needed tomorrow night away from home after the shocking display on Saturday, if not some real questions need to be answered about John Sheridan reign at Swindon Town.
Preview by Scot Munroe