Wycombe Wanderers vs Portsmouth: EFL League One Match Preview
It is fair to say that not many people backed Wycombe Wanderers to have such a positive start to the season, myself included. However, the Chairboys sit just outside the automatic promotion places in EFL League One, currently occupying third place going into the next round of fixtures. Wycombe have only won four games out of nine in the league campaign thus far, but with another four draws to back it up, they are soaring with confidence and will be formidable opponents for any team at this stage of the season.
The team tasked with inflicting only a second defeat upon the home side are Portsmouth F.C., a side currently performing severely below most people’s expectations. After losing in the play-offs last season, Pompey still seem to be suffering a hangover from last May as they lie in the bottom half of the League One table. For a team that was without doubt intending to challenge for automatic promotion this campaign, Portsmouth will be wanting to get their act together as soon as possible, potentially with a win this weekend at Adams Park.
Wycombe Wanderers What To Watch
Apart from conceding three in a victory over lowly Southend United F.C., Wycombe have been rather impressive defensively. The last line of that defence is goalkeeper Ryan Allsop. With four clean sheets to his name already this season, Allsop has proven he is a safe pair of hands between the posts and with Portsmouth possessing such a potentially dangerous attack, he will have to be on his guard if he wants to add another clean sheet to his record.
Experience is always something teams at this level are desperate to get their hands on and Wycombe are lucky to have such an experienced player in the form of Matt Bloomfield. Having just entered his 17th season with the club, Bloomfield knows Wycombe Wanderers inside out and if there is anyone in the team that will refuse to let the rest of the team take their current position for granted, it will be him.
While he is no longer a guaranteed starter in the Wycombe Wanderers side, the Chairboys possess a forward the lower leagues know all too well about. The man I am referring to is of course, Adebayo Akinfenwa. Often coined the “strongest man in football,” Akinfenwa is the ultimate target man, and has a fine finish to boot. Should Wycombe need an alternative option on Saturday, route one may not be the worst idea.
Portsmouth What To Watch
Kenny Jackett has given a chance to younger players this season and one example of this is defender Brandon Haunstrup. The 23-year-old is starting to see himself be included in the first team more and more, hoping to repay his manager’s faith in him. However, with Portsmouth’s sketchy start to the season, how long until Jackett decides to tinker with the defence a bit more?
In the midfield, Pompey have the services of wide player Ryan Williams to rely on. Williams is in his second spell with the club after initially leaving in 2012 to join Fulham F.C.. Although, the Australian has found his way back to Fratton Park and will be hoping to stay for a little bit longer this time around. Jackett obviously saw Williams would be a good addition to his squad in the summer, but the jury is still out over whether this is the case.
Quite like Wycombe, Portsmouth have experience in the squad to help nurture the younger players. This doesn’t mean the older players are completely past their sell by date yet, as Brett Pitman proved last weekend, converting a 95th minute penalty at Burton Albion F.C. to salvage a point. Pitman has been with the club since 2017 and often grabs valuable goals. Pompey fans will be hoping that this weekend he will strike to take home all three points.
Wycombe Wanderers vs Portsmouth Prediction
Wycombe’s start has shaken up the division. No one outside of High Wycombe believed they would be promotion contenders, but they have to keep some consistency to make the dream of the Championship become a reality. On the other hand, Portsmouth have to start winning regularly to get themselves back in the promotion fold, as that is the very least their fans expect. Anything less than a win this weekend and fans could start to turn on Kenny Jackett.
Prediction: Portsmouth - 2 Wycombe Wanderers - 1
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