There is little doubt what the tie of the round is this weekend in the FA Cup. That game comes from SMH Group Stadium where top-of-the-table in the National League, Chesterfield, take on top-of-the-table in League 1, Portsmouth.
We asked our resident Pompey mush to preview the game and given him strict instructions not to be biased in his Chesterfield vs Portsmouth Predictions for the 12:15 kick-off, live on ITV1 on Sunday…
Following Portsmouth over the years has been like a rollercoaster. I don’t like rollercoasters. They scare me and I’m not an adrenaline junkie. This is an accurate portrayal of what life has been like for Pompey fans. For the vast majority of my lifetime, we’ve been abject to mundane bar a few years of short-lived joy here and there.
The Milan Mandaric/Harry Redknapp era was probably the zenith. I’m slightly too young to remember the first time Alan Ball was in charge but I do very much remember the second. I was not there on that night against Stockport but I can distinctly remember listening to it live on BBC Radio Solent and I just got goosebumps.
Still, that is just fluff I suppose as the vast majority of you reading this will not care about things that happened late in the last century. This version of Portsmouth FC though are actually, whisper it quietly, pretty decent. They sit top of League 1 and haven’t lost a league game since March 11. Think about that. This team went through the whole of British Summer Time without losing a league match. Madness.
Promotion back to the second-tier of English football is quite clearly the aspiration for the club. A nice run in the cup would be a bit of a bonus. However, it is probably what you’d call a free hit.
Chesterfield are in a very similar boat, just two divisions below. A return to the Football League after five seasons languishing outside the level is very much on the cards. Paul Cook has a pretty impeccable reputation in terms of getting teams promoted.
The 56 year-old enjoyed a very fruitful spell at Chesterfield in the early-part of the last decade. Taking them to the League 2 title in the 13/14 season before guiding them to the play-offs a year later in League 1. It was at that point where he jumped ship and took over at Fratton Park, leading them to promotion and the same League 2 title in the 16/17 campaign.
Yes, this man has managed both clubs and that will be a big part of the storyline heading into Sunday’s game.
After taking Portsmouth up, he decided that the chance to manage Wigan Athletic was too good of an opportunity to turn down, so he moved on once more. Yet again, promotion was achieved, this time from League 1 and it became pretty obvious to anyone who followed lower-league football closely, that this was a top manager.
It was only at Ipswich where he didn’t have an immediate positive impact and it was after his dismissal from Portman Road that he took on the job at Chesterfield once again.
The visitors haven’t lost in the league all season but the home side aren’t doing too badly either. They’ve dropped just seven points out of a possible 51 and their only defeat came on the road to a good Altrincham side, who scored two late goals to turn things around.
This is quite clearly two of the best sides in their respective divisions and it should be a cracker.
Chesterfield will be without Joe Quigley due to an ankle problem and Tyrone Williams is a major doubt having suffered a thigh injury at Kettering.
Connor Ogilvie is out for the visitors. The left-back isn’t expected to be back in first team action until near the Christmas holidays after going down at Cambridge with an ankle issue. Tom Lowery and Marlon Pack will not to ready to return to the squad this weekend.
Considering they are two divisions apart, the fact Chesterfield are only 3/1 to win the tie on the day says everything. Pompey are the 5/6 favourites with the draw priced up at 13/5.
Goals are on the cards according to the traders with Both Teams to Score a 4/7 shot and the Over 2.5 Goals coming in at 4/6.
If you are looking at the Correct Score Market, the shortest-price available is actually on the 1-1 draw at 13/2. Pompey to win 0-1 can be backed at 15/2 with a 1-2 away win 7/1. If you fancy Chesterfield, then your best bet according to the odds in this market is 2-1, which comes in at 12/1.
Bet 1 – Half-Time Both Teams to Score – Yes @ 11/4
Both teams have shown they can find the back of the net this season. Chesterfield have scored 43 in 17 games, good for a smidgen over 2.5 a game. Pompey aren’t as prolific but they have only failed to score on three occasions.
I think this game gets off to a fast start and expect both sets of supporters to be celebrating at least once in the first 45 minutes.
Bet 2 – Chesterfield or Draw Double Chance & Over 2.5 @ 11/4
I think the Over 2.5 comes in but I want to find that added value. Grabbing Chesterfield to win or draw on the Double Chance in addition really boosts up the price.
The Paul Cook factor looms large and let’s be honest, Chesterfield are a National League team in name only, put that squad in League 2 and they would be there or thereabouts.
The home side have every chance and with two 11/4 tips put up, I think there is every chance at least one of them comes in and therefore brings us profit. Hopefully Bet 1 more than Bet 2 though!
You can check out all of our Football Betting Tips for the weekend on our main Football hub page…