On Friday morning Fleetwood manager Uwe Rosler told the local press that it was “imperative” to leave Doncaster with something on Saturday. The Cod Army were heading to South Yorkshire on the back of a six-game losing spree and requiring a result to keep their heads above the relegation zone water.
Having guided Town to an unlikely top-six finish last term, Rosler had been struggling to hit the same heights this season. The German even decided to switch pre-match preparation from the training paddock in able to help clear his players heads and focus minds.
So when Fleetwood were comprehensively swept aside 3-0 at Doncaster, there was a sense of inevitability to the Saturday night news of Rosler’s sacking. Sixteen losses in 32 fixtures this campaign had left the Cod Army above the bottom-four courtesy of their superior goal difference.
Development coach Barry Nicholson and goalkeeping coach David Lucas have been handed the reigns for Tuesday night’s tussle with Portsmouth as Town chase a first league success since 13th January. With Cian Bolger returning at the weekend and striker Paddy Madden back available, the stand a fighting chance.
On Saturday, Fleetwood offered very little in attack – substitute Jordy Hiwula’s effort the best of a bad bunch – but the departure of Rosler could well release a little tension in the home ranks and an aggressive approach shouldn’t be ruled out.
Prior to the weekend, the hosts had scored in every League One match since before Christmas and with goals notched in all bar three of their 16 outings at Highbury, Fleetwood should have enough in the locker to hurt a Portsmouth outfit suffering their own struggles of late.
Pompey gifted a resurgent Southend side an early lead on Saturday as they slumped to a 3-1 reverse in Essex. Manager Kenny Jackett rounded on his team’s defensive display as the Blues fell two goals behind inside 12 minutes at Roots Hall.
Portsmouth failed to recover from that deficit as their awful 2018 continues (W1-D2-L5). The south-coast club saw Nathan Thompson sent off while Gareth Evans and Brett Pitman were both substituted with suspected hamstring problems to deepen the gloom. All three will now miss this midweek trip.
Nevertheless, Pompey have found the back of the net in all but three contests since before November’s international break and despite Pitman’s injury, still boast the tools to punish any vulnerability in the home penalty area.
However, defensively, it’s hard to have faith in Jackett’s charges following their recent displays and so a play on Over 2.25 Goals at 2.12 looks well worth an interest at odds-against quotes. Over 2.5 goals has landed in seven of Portsmouth’s previous 10 encounters, including each of their last four.
Indeed, eight of Pompey’s 10 trips to teams below them in the league stands have paid out for Over 2.5 Goals backers and the same can be said of nine of Fleetwood’s previous 11 League One matches. With 10 of Town’s 16 games at Highbury crossing the Over 2.5 Goals barrier also, a goal-heavy game appeals. Getting the asian line of 2.25 is just an added bonus here.
Over 2.25 Goals at 2.12