This Week's Opposition: Stevenage

Photo Credit: Stevenage FC

After a game of 2 halves, the Blues were awarded an extra point in their Papa Johns Trophy clash in midweek when they won on penalties against the Fulham Under 21s, following a 3-3 draw in normal time. Attention now turns, however, back to League One football…

Still maintaining their unbeaten run in league and cup, it’s time for Pompey to get back to winning ways in the league, having been frustrated in a goalless draw with Cheltenham Town last time out.

Matchday 5 has arrived and John Moushino’s side head up to Hertfordshire to take on newly-promoted Stevenage!

MANAGER

Former Scottish player Steve Evans is at the helm for The Boro.

Evans started his professional career at Bolton Wanderers and also played for Clyde, Albion Rovers, Ayr United, Hamilton Academical and St. Johnstone, until a knee ligament injury ended his playing career at the early age of 24.

After Evans’ retirement he became a manager. Prior to taking charge at Crawley Town in 2007, he also managed Stamford and Boston United.

Whilst at Rotherham United, he led the club to 2 successive promotions before moving on to Championship side Leeds United in 2015.

After his stint at Elland Road, Evans moved on to manage the likes of Mansfield Town, Peterborough United and Gillingham, before joining League Two outfit Stevenage in March 2022.

At the time of his appointment, the club sat in 22nd position in League Two, just 3 points clear of the relegation zone. Evans' 2022/23 campaign started strong with 10 victories out of 13 in the league and ended with automatic promotion to League One in April.

ONE TO WATCH

You thought you could go an entire season without hearing Ben Thompson’s name, didn’t you? Well we're afraid that hope has been cut short early doors this campaign - He’s our One To Watch this weekend.

27-year-old Thompson represented the perfect example of why the phrase “Never fall in love with a loan player” is so commonly used. Many Blues fans adorned to him pretty quickly during his half–a-season spell at the club under Kenny Jackett during the 2018/19 campaign, where he made 23 appearances.

Since then, the midfielder has gone on to represent Gillingham and Peterborough United, joining Stevenage only this summer transfer window.

In fact he’s not the only Thompson at the club, who have also this season recruited former Pompey Thompsons Louis and Nathan.

TOP SCORER

With 2 league goals to his name at this stage, forward Jamie Reid is currently Stevenage’s leading scorer.

The 29-year-old bagged 3 goals in pre-season, including a brace against Hitchin and a goal in a 2-1 victory over Ipswich.

Competitively, the former Exeter City, Torquay United and Mansfield striker has found the back of the net twice, though unable to score during a 23 minute period at Reading last time out.

His match was cut short as a result of teammate and former Blues defender Nathan Thompson receiving a red card, prompting manager Steve Evans to make a difficult decision, removing Reid from the field of play to strengthen up at the back.

CURRENT FORM

After being promoted this season, Stevenage have had a promising start to life back in the 3rd tier.

A 1-0 win against Northampton Town on the opening day was followed by a 2-0 win over Shrewsbury and a 2-1 victory at Cambridge United, who have also started the season excellently.

In-between that trio of wins, Steve Evans’ side saw off Championship opposition Watford in the Carabao Cup, running victorious on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

In their most recent outing last weekend, Stevenage suffered their first defeat of the season when they traveled to Reading - The ecently relegated Championship side claiming a 2-0 victory over The Boro.

Unlike the Blues, Stevenage were not in action in midweek as their opening Papa John’s Trophy fixture comes around on September the 5th.

So which of these sides will continue with their strong starts to the season? Can Stevenage continue to defy the odds or will it be Portsmouth who climb further up the League One table?

Tune in for all of the unmissable action when Pompey Live returns this Saturday from 2pm - Kick-off: 3pm.

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