After back-to-back home victories for the Blues, it’s time to hit the road again - Destination: The Abbey Stadium.
Pompey are on top of the world at the moment after pulling off an unexpected but very much welcome victory over Bolton Wanderers at Fratton Park in midweek.
They remain 10th in League One but still there’s hope of a strong end to the campaign, with the Play-Off places still mathematically reachable.
Cambridge United are the opponents this weekend as John Mousinho prepares his side for their first of 2 away matches in the space of just 4 days.
37-year-old Mark Bonner holds the head coach role at Cambridge United and has done since his appointment to the position on an initial temporary basis in January 2020, following the departure of predecessor Colin Calderwood.
Bonner oversaw 4 consecutive wins across his first 4 games in charge and as a result was promoted to the position of head coach on a permanent basis in March of the same year - However due to the curtailment of that season due to COVID-19, his first match as permanent boss didn’t come for another 6 months, when the U’s knocked out Birmingham City in the Carabao Cup to kickstart the following campaign.
Overall, Bonner has accrued a win percentage of 40.37, having led Cambridge to 65 victories from 161 competitive outings throughout his 3-year tenure.
ONE TO WATCH
Scottish midfielder Conor McGrandles is a threat to be keeping tabs on this weekend.
The Charlton Athletic loanee, formerly of MK Dons and Lincoln City, joined The U’s on an end-of-season loan on January 24th, so far making 7 appearances but holding no goal contributions as of yet.
McGrandles, who is now 27 years of age, joined Charlton from the aforementioned Lincoln as recently as last summer but had failed to make much of an impact during the first half of this term, registering just 9 appearances.
Nonetheless, he poses a threat if he is able to bring back the form shown with his previous 2 clubs, for which he would often perform well for, particularly when the Blues were in town.
Whilst both Joe Ironside and Sam Smith have scored 6 league goals for The U’s this season, it’s Smith who claims the accolade of top scorer thus far, having also bagged one more in The FA Cup.
The 24-year-old former Manchester United and Reading youth product hasn’t scored however since the start of the year, last finding the back of the net 9 matches ago in a 2-1 defeat to Bristol Rovers on January the 7th.
Smith, who plays as a forward, has been at Cambridge since signing permanently in the summer of 2021 following his release from Reading - He had previously spent a season on loan at the Abbey Stadium during the 2019/20 campaign, during which he scored 7 goals in 28 appearances.
This time around, Pompey’s opposition are in much worse form - The U’s have secured just 1 league victory from their last 11 attempts.
Mark Bonner’s side are currently experiencing a major slide down the table, now sitting in 23rd position on just 29 points, 2 points behind Morecambe, who hold the last remaining safe position in League One heading into the weekend’s action.
Cambridge have lost 2 on the bounce without scoring prior to this meeting with Pompey, who themselves are on a run of 4 games unbeaten.
So who will come out on top in matchday number 33 for the Blues at the Abbey Stadium?
Join Express FM for All of the unmissable action when Pompey Live returns this Saturday from 2pm with Robbie James, Jake Smith and Jay Sadler.