Burton Albion v Pompey Preview

By Sam Stone

Pompey’s hunt for an overdue League One win heads to the Pirelli Stadium on Tuesday night to face Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbank’s Burton Albion.

Cowley’s pursuit of a first win in 6 should have come to an end at the Valley on Saturday. Pompey dominated for large parts of the match and if they had gone in 3-0 up at the break it would’ve flattered the hosts. Unlike previous fixtures, the Blues were able to create plenty of opportunities. Yet, it was poor finishing and two defensive mishaps that ultimately cost Pompey a vital three points.

John Marquis’ first-half miss would’ve put Pompey in a commanding position along with his second-half effort which was easily dealt with by Craig McGalivary. Over the past six fixtures, Pompey have struggled to put in a performance that has seen every aspect of their game merit a positive result.

Failure to create chances, momentary defensive lapses, and lackluster finishing have all blighted the Blues’ progress in recent weeks. The absence of injury-prone Clarke Robertson and the failure to sign an adequate striker in the window look to be haunting Pompey, just as many predicted.

The build-up play and overall performance with the ball should be positive heading into the midweek clash with Burton. The first goal on Saturday was the epitome of what the Cowleys are trying to establish as the core principles in this side; being comfortable in possession, especially at the back, and utilising fast direct passing in the midfield.

Sean Raggett’s composure and Ryan Tunnicliffe and Marlon Romeo’s incisive midfield passing were the catalysts for Ronan Curtis’ stunning top corner strike.

After a mixed start to the season for Ronan Curtis, the Fratton faithful must remember his ability to change a game with a moment of magic. With two goals in three games, the Irishman will certainly be the bookies’ favorite to break the deadlock for Pompey at Burton on Tuesday.

As for the home side, they are coming off the back of two League One defeats to Lincoln and Crewe. Despite this, they still find themselves comfortably in mid-table after an extremely challenging start to the season, with notable victories over Ipswich and Sunderland.

The Brewers have failed to notch a League win since the home win victory against Sunderland, which will frustrate the home fans considering the number of chances they have been creating.

In the Brewers’ 2-1 home defeat to Lincoln City, they had 27 shots and an expected goals of 3.23, however, it must be noted that Burton’s top three players for XG were all defenders, perhaps indicating a reliance upon set pieces. In their away defeat to Crewe, they mustered 19 shots but only three on target.

The Brewers certainly like to have attempts on their opposition’s goal yet fail to create clear-cut chances for their attacking players at the top end of the pitch.

Tuesday’s fixture could well be an open end-to-end affair, given the number of chances the home side seems to create. This coupled with Pompey’s new formation and dominance in possession, plenty of chances and goals would not be out of the question.

If Pompey can piece together a performance in all aspects of the pitch, they should have too much for the home side. Ronan Curtis to score, Pompey to win and both teams to find the back of the net would not be a bad punt for this one.

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