The League One Play-offs get underway on Friday as night at Fratton Park as Portsmouth host Oxford United.
Pompey are a shadow of them former selves but will look to take a step closer back towards the Premier League by winning promotion to the Championship, meanwhile Oxford have not been in the now named Championship before, however some fans will have memories of their time in the First Division during 1987.
When and Where?
The game will take place at Fratton Park on Friday 3rd July with kick off at 5:30pm.
These two sides have clashed 66 times in all competitions with Pompey coming out on top 25 times compared to Oxford’s 22. The sides have met twice already this season, once in the League and once in the Football League Trophy, both games ended in draws.
The last time Oxford won at Fratton Park was 2016 when both sides were in League Two.
Pompey have avoided picking up any new injury concerns this week going into the Oxford United showdown.
Ellis Harrison had a slight back problem but is fully fit for the game and will vie to lead the line with John Marquis.
Karl Robinson will be without former Pompey loanee, George Thorne, who dislocated his shoulder last year and continues to be troubled by injury problems.
Oxford are hopeful Rob Hall will be available after returning from a loan spell with Forest Green, while the same applies for Jamie Mackie and Feyenoord loanee Liam Kelly over short-term contract extensions.
Otherwise, Robinson will have his strongest possible squad to select from, including striker Matty Taylor who’s looking to build on a run of six goals in five games.
Last Five Games
(D) 2-2 vs Fleetwood
(L) 0-2 vs Peterborough
(L) 0-2 vs Arsenal (FA Cup)
(W) 3-0 vs Rochdale
(W) 3-1 vs MK Dons
(W) 3-2 vs Shrewsbury
(W) 2-1 vs Southend
(W) 3-0 Accrington
(W) 1-0 vs Ipswich
(W) 5-0 vs AFC Wimbledon
You cannot avoid that Oxford were flying before the lockdown, whilst Portsmouth were struggling for any real sort of form. You could argue that Oxford have the form and more of a squad togetherness, however in Kenny Jackett Portsmouth have a manager that knows how to get promoted.
With no Fratton Park crowd roaring them on it will have a strange feel to the game but I think the host will take a slender lead into the second leg.
Portsmouth 1-0 Oxford United
Match Preview written by Ryan Day