Pompey just about kept their winning streak going at the weekend after beating Carlisle United by a goal to nil in stoppage time at Fratton Park. Next up, the first of 2 away matches this week… The Abbey Stadium the venue for the Blues’ midweek encounter with Cambridge United.
Conor Shaughnessy headed home the only goal of the game on Saturday to extend Portsmouth’s unbeaten run in the league to 24 matches and maintain their place at the top of the League One table.
Time now to move swiftly on to the next one with The U’s of Cambridge now put under the spotlight.
Cambridge are led in the dugout by 37-year-old Mark Bonner.
Bonner has been in charge of the club since January 2020, when he took over on an initial temporary basis from Colin Calderwood.
He won 4 of his first 4 games at the helm of The U’s and, as a result, had his role made permanent just 2 months later, however due to the curtailment of the 2019/20 season following the COVID outbreak, Bonner had to wait 6 months for his first match as permanent head coach - A game he was victorious in, defeating Birmingham City in the First Round of the Carabao Cup.
Bonner’s first full season in management was a massively successful one, guiding Cambridge to a 2nd place finish in League Two and therefore promotion to League One in 2021, meaning they would go on to play 3rd tier football for the first time since 2002.
ONE TO WATCH
22-year-old former Pompey forward Gassan Ahadme is for sure one to keep an eye on this time around.
The Moroccan striker is currently on loan from Championship side Ipswich Town and has so far found the back of the net twice in 12 appearances for the club.
Ahadme, who wears the number 23 shirt, has become a bit of a hit with the Cambridge supporters this season.
Blues fans may remember Ahadme from his short time at Fratton Park during the 2021/22 campaign, at the start of which he was brought in by Danny Cowley on a loan deal from Norwich City, following a hugely impressive trial period during pre-season.
He failed to score any competitive goals for Pompey and made just 5 competitive appearances before being sent back to Carrow Road and sold to Burton Albion in January that season.
Winger and occasional forward Fejiri Okenabirhie is currently leading the goalscoring charts for The U’s.
The 27-year-old, who began his senior playing career with Stevenage in 2014, has so far bagged 5 league goals since the start of the campaign.
His last goal came in a 2-1 defeat away at Burton Albion on the 9th of October - That goal a consolation at the Pirelli Stadium with Cambridge trailing by 2 by the time he found the back of the net in that one.
Okhenabirhie has also managed to strike 2 goals in the Carabao Cup this season, though even they weren’t enough to see off League Two Sutton United, who defeated The U’s by 3 goals to 2 in the First Round tie at Gander Green Lane.
Despite a decent start to the season which saw Cambridge within the top 6 for large parts of August, Mark Bonner’s side now find themselves at the other end of the table and fighting in 18th position.
The U’s have failed to win any of their last 7 league fixtures, last recording maximum points following a 1-0 home victory over Reading on September the 4th.
Since then, a return of just 3 points from a possible 21 has left them just 3 places above the drop zone, however with those in the bottom 4 having terrible starts to the season, the gap between Cambridge and the relegation zone is 7 points, the exact same as the gap to the Play-Off places.
So, can Pompey remain top of the pile and extend their unbeaten league run to 25 matches, or will Cambridge secure their first league maximum after 7 games without a win?
Pompey Live returns with all of the unmissable action of Cambridge United vs Portsmouth in League One on Tuesday evening (October 24th) from 7pm. Robbie James, Jake Smith and Henry Deacon will be reporting live from the Abbey Stadium.