MATCH PREVIEW: Bristol Rovers v Portsmouth

GasCast Match Previews by Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers host Portsmouth this week for their first game following Paul Tisdale’s sacking.

The Gas were due to host Swindon Town at the weekend only for a frozen pitch to thwart the match from taking place.

The Swindon match was due to be caretaker boss Tommy Widdrington’s first league game in temporary charge but this will now be a much tougher test at home to one of the favourites for promotion.

Widdrington is not only in charge of the team, albeit on a temporary basis but he is also one of the parties tasked with appointing Tisdale’s successor given his normal role as Director of Football and the Geordie has provided an update on how the search for a new manager is going.

“I haven’t spoken to anybody yet myself, but I plan to,” Widdrington explained.

“As you know, I’m part of that process, some that’s something I’m doing alongside what I’m doing now.”

“The sooner you let me go and the quicker I get training done, the sooner I might be able to speak to someone.”

Rovers will be without Anssi Jaakola, Abu Ogogo and Josh Barrett who are all absent through injury. Jaakkola looks to be the most likely to be first back fit due to the extent of Ogogo’s and Barrett’s injuries being over two months.

Portsmouth go into the game looking for their fourth straight away win.

Pompey started the season inconsistently but a strong showing since November has seen last season’s play-off semi-finalists rise to fourth place.

Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett will be in charge for the last time before a spell on the sidelines as he undergoes a medical procedure.

A short statement on the club’s website wrote: “Portsmouth Football Club can advise that, with effect from this Thursday (February 18), Kenny Jackett will not be in attendance at matches or training sessions following a medical procedure that will require a short period of rest and recuperation.

“Assistant manager Joe Gallen will operate in a caretaker capacity during this time and will be assisted by first team coach Jake Wigley.

“Kenny will remain in constant contact with them both, while also able to speak to the players via video link before and after games, as well as at half-time.”

Team news for Portsmouth is that Jackett has no new injury concerns ahead of the game and the former Millwall and Wolves boss could name the same side that beat Rovers’ relegation rivals Swindon last time out.

Lineup Predictions:

Bristol Rovers Predicted XI (3-5-2):

Pompey Predicted XI (4-4-1-1): MacGillivray (GK), Johnson, Bolton, Raggett, Daniels; Harness, Naylor (c), Cannon, Curtis; Williams, Marquis

Score Predictions:

Max: The Gas 2-2 Portsmouth

Jack: The Gas 0-0 Portsmouth

Simon: The Gas 1-1 Portsmouth