Match Preview: Portsmouth (H)
EFL League Two
The Hive London
Saturday, February 18, 2017 – KO 3pm
Team News: Simeon Akinola returns to the fold after completing his three match suspension for a red card against Carlisle United.
Jamie Stephens (calf), Jack Taylor (hernia) and James Pearson (knee) are again unlikely to feature, while Michael Gash (knee) and Shaun Batt (hamstring) expect to be ruled out for the season.
Last Time We Met: Barnet suffered their heaviest defeat of the campaign when they travelled to Fratton Park back in September.
The Bees were on the wrong end of a 5-1 scoreline, despite taking the lead through a 27th minute John Akinde penalty.
Conor Chaplin equalised less than ten minutes later, before second half goals from Gary Roberts and Carl Baker gave the home side a commanding lead.
Bira Dembele’s 64th minute red card put an end to any hopes of a comeback, as Portsmouth made the most of their man advantage.
Late goals from substitute Milan Lalkovic and Danny Rose rounded off a comprehensive victory for Pompey and sent the Bees back to London empty-handed.
Manager: Paul Cook made over 500 league appearances as a player; notably for Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley, as well as a spell with Premier League Coventry City.
He moved into management in 2006 with Southport, before joining League of Ireland side Sligo Rovers just under a year later.
Cook stayed with ‘the Bit o’ Red’ for almost five seasons – he won the FAI Cup twice and the League of Ireland Cup on one occasion while at the club.
A brief stint in the Accrington Stanley dugout followed, before a highly successful three seasons at Chesterfield from 2012 to 2015.
The Kirkby-born manager won promotion from League Two, before reaching the League One play-offs the following year.
He left to join current club Portsmouth at the end of the 2014-15 campaign, where he reached the League Two play-off semi-finals in his first full season.
Dangermen: Conor Chaplin and Gary Roberts have seven goals each so far this season.
Chaplin, 19, is one of the hottest prospects in the division, having graduated from Portsmouth’s academy and made his debut in the 2014-15 season.
He was named League Two Apprentice of the Year at the end of that campaign, and has gone on to score 19 times in 74 appearances.
32-year-old Gary Roberts is at the opposite end of his career, but is still continuing to find the net on a regular basis.
The experienced winger has made 525 senior appearances for the likes of Ipswich Town, Huddersfield Town and Chesterfield, scoring 107 goals in the process.
Connections: Last week all three of Colchester United’s goalkeepers had previously played for the Bees. It’s therefore a rather odd quirk that both of Portsmouth’s first choice custodians are also ex-Barnet stoppers!
Republic of Ireland international David Forde played seven matches on loan at Barnet in 2003 and is currently enjoying a loan spell on the south coast from his parent club Millwall. Pompey’s number two is former Bee Liam O’Brien – the 6ft 4in keeper made 23 appearances in three seasons at Underhill.
Striker Jamal Lowe joined Portsmouth this January, following a prolific couple of years at Hampton & Richmond Borough. The Harrow-born forward began his career at Barnet and pulled on the black and amber shirt on 15 occasions.
The Bees’ prolific goal scorer John Akinde also spent a brief period at Fratton Park in 2012-13, however he failed to find the net in 11 League One matches.
Conference winning manager Martin Allen captained Portsmouth towards the tail end of his playing career, making 45 appearances and finding the net four times.
Another former Barnet manager who played for Pompey is Mark Stimson. Portsmouth even loaned him to the Bees for five matches in 1995.
Iconic captain and one time head coach Ian Hendon also appeared four times (on loan from Tottenham Hotspur) for the men in blue and white.
Other players to have represented either Barnet or Portsmouth with some distinction include Linvoy Primus (over 100 appearances for both clubs), talismanic striker Izale McLeod, two-times Barnet FC Player of the Year Joe Devera, Bondz N’Gala (who left The Hive in December) and Ricky Holmes.
Powerful centre-back Guy Butters played 154 league games for Portsmouth, narrowly beating fellow defender Paul Hardyman. Shaun Gale made a similar number of appearances for Barnet from 1994-97.
Further connections: David Hillier, Jordan Obita and Gary Silk.
Last Time Out: A first half strike from Gareth Evans and an injury time goal from Eoin Doyle helped Portsmouth to a 2-0 home victory over Blackpool on Tuesday night.
The result sees Pompey record back-to-back wins and leaves them fifth in the table going into Saturday’s game.
Portsmouth’s form has been mixed of late, winning five, drawing two and losing three of their previous ten matches.
Portsmouth: Forde, Evans (Naismith 75’), Clarke, Burgess, Stevens, Linganzi, M.Doyle, Lowe (Baker 68’), Roberts, Bennett (Whatmough 83’), E.Doyle.
Ticket info: Supporters can order tickets for tomorrow’s match from our online box office or by arriving early and buying on the day from The Hive Ticket Office.