Another win on the road sees the Blues pick up a crucial 3 points against Port Vale. A late penalty decision allowed Colby Bishop to step up to the mark and keep Pompey top of the table in the 88th minute at Vale Park.
A rescheduled match from November that had been postponed due to International call ups at the time sees the Blues embark on their third consecutive away game.
This time they’re heading to John Mousinho’s old club Oxford United, taking on fellow the League One side at the Kassam Stadium.
Let’s dive into the side now…
Des Buckingham is now at the helm for The U’s.
Buckingham had spells in the youth and reserve teams at both Reading and Oxford United as a goalkeeper, although a professional playing career did not materialise.
He began his professional coaching career at Oxford at the age of 18, initially working through the club’s age group squads.
At the start of the 2013/14 season in League Two, Buckingham progressed as a coach into the first team under the manager Chris Wilder. In his time at the club, Buckingham supported the transition of 24 players from the youth ranks into their first professional contracts.
Buckingham made a move to New Zealand and joined Wellington Phoenix under head coach Ernie Merrick. After Merrick’s resignation, Buckingham was appointed manager and at 31-years-old he became the youngest manager in A-League history.
In July 2017, Buckingham left Wellington Phoenix and took up a role at Stoke City, then in the Premier League, as an assistant coach for their Under-23s team.
Buckingham returned to New Zealand to coach the Under-20s and Under-23s teams. He also coached for Melbourne City and Mumbai City before returning to Oxford in November 2023 on a long-term contract as head coach.
ONE TO WATCH
Midfielder Tyler Goodrham is our one to watch.
The 20-year-old started out in the Reading youth team before joining Oxford as an under 14. Goodrham played in the Under-18s squad for Oxford and made his debut against Crawley, becoming the club’s youngest player at the age of 16 years and 98 days.
Throughout his time at Oxford, Goodrham has had loan spells at Hayes & Yeading United and Slough Town.
Recently this year, Goodrham signed a new long term contract with The U’s, for whom he wears the number 19 shirt.
There are currently 2 players who occupy the top goalscorer spot on this occasion.
Cameron Brannagan and Mark Harris have both bagged 7 league goals so far this campaign.
Brannagan, the midfielder who wears the number 8 shirt, started his career as a Liverpool academy graduate, making his senior appearance in 2015. He only managed 9 appearances for the club and went on to join Fleetwood Town on loan in 2017 before then signing for Oxford on a permanent deal the following year.
Brannagan has made 223 appearances for The U’s and scored 39 goals.
Mark Harris, the forward who wears the number 9 shirt, has represented Wales at Under-17, Under-19, Under-20 and Under-21 level.
Harris turned professional at Cardiff City, making loan spells at Newport County, Port Vale and Wrexham. He broke into Cardiff’s first team during the 2021/21 season but was released in June 2023.
Harris joined Oxford the following month.
The U’s currently occupy 7th in the League One table, accumulating 49 points with 15 wins, 4 draws and 9 defeats so far.
Buckingham’s side sit 10 points behind the Blues with a game in hand. Their last 5 games have resulted in 2 victories and 3 defeats. Their most recent defeat ended 3-1 against Bristol Rovers, even after having possession for 59% of the match.
Oxford United have not started the New Year the way they would have hoped. They were knocked out of The FA Cup 3rd Round, suffering a 6-2 defeat to Coventry City and only 3 days later suffered another defeat, ending their EFL Trophy journey with a 2-0 defeat to League Two side AFC Wimbledon.
The 2 sides are yet to face each other this season after the rescheduling of this match, which was supposed to have taken place in November. Last season, both results home and away ended in a 1-1 draw.
Can the Blues get a 3rd consecutive win on the road?
Tune in for all of the unmissable action when Pompey Live returns this Tuesday (January 30th) evening at 7pm.