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This Week's Opposition: Fleetwood Town

Photo Credit: Fleetwood Town FC

After Tuesday’s capitulation in the EFL Trophy, the Blues are heading straight back to League One duties. Fleetwood Town are the visitors to Fratton Park for matchday number 21 of the league campaign.

Pompey will be hoping to swiftly put the disappointment of their trophy exit behind them and have the comfortable stat of 4 consecutive league wins to lift the spirits.

Let’s find out a bit more about Fleetwood Town, who have been gifted the gruelling near-600 mile round-trip down South just 2 days before Christmas.

MANAGER

The managerial situation has changed at Fleetwood since the 2 sides last clashed heads on the Fylde Coast back in January, where Scott Brown was in the dugout.

Former Barnsley, Bristol City and Sunderland boss Lee Johnson is now in charge, having been appointed on September the 10th, just 2 weeks after being sacked by Scottish Premiership side Hibernian.

The 42-year-old enjoyed a 13-year-long playing career, starting professionally at Brighton & Hove Albion in the year 2000, retiring at the age of 31 after leaving Kilmarnock in January 2013.

Since taking charge of The Fishermen, Johnson has secured just 6 wins from 19 games, drawing 4 and being defeated on the other 9 occasions.

ONE TO WATCH

26-year-old forward Kabongo Tshimanga is one to keep an eye on this weekend.

The Peterborough United loanee, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a quick and powerful attacker who doesn’t shy away from running at opposition defences to try and force openings.

Tshimanga is considered a threat despite having not yet found the back of the net in the league this season - He’s played 340 minutes of league football since the start of the campaign.

The former Oxford United, Boreham Wood and Chesterfield man, who wears the number 7 for The Fishermen, was not involved in their previous match against his parent club Peterborough last Saturday - Ineligible as per the terms of the loan deal.

TOP SCORERJackMarriott_FleetwoodDEC23

Keeping on trend with strikers who have or do still in some way represent The Posh, Fleetwood’s top scorer at this stage of the season is 29-year-old Jack Marriott.

The number 14 began his pro career with Ipswich Town in 2013, though only made 2 senior appearances for The Tractor Boys across 2 years, during such time he was sent out on loan on 6 separate occasions.

Appearances in spells for Gillingham, Carlisle United and Colchester United, as well as 3 loans at Woking alone, set Marriott up for a permanent move away from Portman Road to Kenilworth Road - Luton Town securing his services in 2015.

Marriott scored 22 goals in 79 appearances for Luton before moving on to Peterborough and then Derby County, returning to Peterborough for a second spell in 2021.

He bagged 13 goals from 49 games during his 2 year stay at London Road before signing for Fleetwood in January, where he has since scored the same amount of goals but in 17 fewer matches.

This season, the forward has claimed 5 league goals but has failed to score in any other competition, despite playing 351 minutes across The FA Cup, EFL Trophy and Carabao Cup respectively.

CURRENT FORM

To say that Fleetwood have been in a bit of a rut lately would be quite the understatement.

Lee Johnson’s side have lost 6 in a row across all competitions going into this weekend’s game, failing to score in any of those matches.

The last time The Cod Army scored was in their most recent league victory, which was by a scoreline of 3 goals to nil at home to Exeter City back on the 11th of November.

Since then they have failed to find the back of the net in over 540 minutes of football and have been dumped out of both The FA Cup and EFL Trophy.

In the league, Fleetwood have dropped down into the relegation zone - 22nd is where they currently lie with just 16 points on the board, 3 more than rock-bottom Cheltenham Town but also 3 behind Exeter, who currently occupy the final remaining safety position.

Can Pompey make it 5 wins from 5 in the league, or will free-falling Fleetwood upset the odds and take something from their visit to the South Coast?

Catch all of the unmissable action of Portsmouth vs Fleetwood Town when Pompey Live returns this Saturday (December 23rd) from 2pm.

Robbie James, Henry Deacon and Cherelle Khassal will provide all of the pre-match build-up, half-time analysis and post-game reaction LIVE from Fratton Park on 93.7 Express FM, DAB Digital Radio, Online and iFollow.

Kick-off: 3pm!

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