Match Preview: Portsmouth (A)
EFL League Two
Saturday, September 24, 2016 – KO 3.00pm
Team News: Barnet have three long-term absentees in James Pearson, Michael Gash and Gavin Hoyte. For a full injury update click here to watch Martin Allen’s pre-Portsmouth video interview.
Last Time We Met: Barnet overcame much-fancied Portsmouth 1-0 with John Akinde bagging what proved to be the winner from the penalty spot four minutes before half-time.
The win was the first of two midweek triumphs in as many weeks as Plymouth Argyle were put to the sword seven days later at The Hive.
Manager: Paul Cook, 49, is now in his second full season at Fratton Park after leaving League One outfit Chesterfield at the end of the 2014/15 season to take charge of Portsmouth.
The Kirby native began his managerial career with Southport in the National League before moving to Ireland to take up the reigns at Sligo Rovers.
During his five-year stint in Ireland Cook twice won the FAI Cup and took the club into the UEFA Cup.
In 2012 Cook returned to England, taking the manager’s job at Accrington Stanley, his final club as a player. Stanley finished 14th at the end of Cook’s first season as boss before he departed the club for League One outfit Chesterfield in October 2012.
The Spireites finished just outside the play-offs in Cook’s first season as manager before improved to clinch the League Two title the following season.
Chesterfield finished in the play-offs again – this time in League One – in 2015 but Cook’s success at the Derbyshire club saw him lured to Fratton Park.
Dangerman: Winger Gary Roberts have five goals in eight League Two outings for Portsmouth already this term.
The 32-year-old followed Pompey boss Cook from Chesterfield last summer and was a regular as the south coast club finished in the play-off places only to lose out to Plymouth Argyle.
Roberts also played under Cook at Accrington Stanley and it was with the Merseyside outfit his career launched, earning a move to Championship side Ipswich Town.
A four-year stay at Huddersfield Town followed – in which the Terriers won promotion from League One – before Roberts joined Swindon and then Chesterfield.
Connections: Backup goalkeeper Liam O’Brien, 24, made 21 league appearances for Barnet between 2011 and 2013.
The Ruislip-born keeper began his career with Queens Park Rangers before moving to Portsmouth in 2010.
O’Brien didn’t make a first-team appearance for Pompey during his first stint on the south coast and moved to Underhill in January 2011.
Released following Barnet’s relegation to the National League in 2013, O’Brien joined League One outfit Brentford on a short-term contract before earning a longer-time deal with the Bees.
He spent two years with Dagenham & Redbridge after leaving Griffin Park only to return to Portsmouth this summer.
There are, however, several ex-Portsmouth connections in the Barnet ranks.
Bees boss Martin Allen played for the south coast club between 1995 and 1999 but made just 46 appearances for Pompey, scoring four times.
More recently, striker John Akinde and centre-back Bondz N’Gala both turned out for the club prior to joining Barnet.
N’Gala’s spell at Fratton Park amounted to 31 outings during the 2013/14 campaign while Akinde failed to score in 11 appearances during the second half of the 2012/13 season.
Last Time Out: Pompey fell to just their second EFL League Two defeat of the season on Saturday when they were beaten 1-0 at Accrington Stanley.
Ryan Lacey got the only goal of the game early in the second half to condemn Cook’s men to a second away loss of the season.
Portsmouth (4-2-3-1): Forde; Davies, Rose, Burgess, Stevens; Baker, Doyle (c); Roberts, Bennett, Evans; Smith.
Ticket info: Full ticket information for Saturday’s visit to Fratton Park is available by clicking here.
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