Portsmouth v Oxford | Friday 3rd July 2020, 17:30 | Sky Sports
There has been no League One football since 10th March when Tranmere won 2-1 away at Blackpool. Since then, Tranmere have been relegated because of a vote, but the play-offs have been given the go-ahead. It all kicks off Friday at 5.30pm when Portsmouth take on Oxford at Fratton Park in an intriguing first-leg.
A points-per-game system may have given Wycombe a spot in the play-offs, but both Pompey and OUFC were slotted into these spots before the regulation campaign was halted. Both have flirted with this part of the table for some time, so are more than deserving of a crack at winning a spot in the Championship.
Certainly a big reason for Portsmouth being where they are is their excellent home record, and they possess the only unbeaten home record in the division. Twelve wins and six draws out of 18, whilst scoring an average of 2.00 goals per game suggests real home advantage.
But, what is home advantage these days? Especially without those passionate and vocal support behind them, playing the bell over the tannoy just isn’t the same, is it? It has been well-documented across Germany especially that home advantage isn’t really that behind closed doors.
Oxford were very much the form team prior to lockdown, and Karl Robinson’s men put together a five-match winning run at the perfect time to challenge for promotion. This included a 1-0 away victory at Ipswich, and they also won away at Rotherham too, so they know how to win on the road, even if won six, drew six and lost eight suggests a certain inconsistency.
Pompey will certainly look to make the most of familiar surroundings considering they’ve lost away against all of the other teams inside the top-eight, whilst they’ve drew against four of the other six inside the top-seven at home. Obviously they’ve not played in well over three months, and the same for Oxford, so you do wonder if this could be another typical slow-burner, even more so considering what is at stake.
Last season there was only one goal in Portsmouth’s two play-off legs against Sunderland. Kenny Jackett was in charge then and of course he is now, I just don’t see Pompey going all-out right from the off, or even Oxford for that matter.
That is despite the fact Portsmouth and Oxford are joint-top in league standings for average shots on goal per game. Both are however in the top-eight for fewest shots on goal conceding, with Oxford sitting in third in that regards.
We all saw the play-offs in League Two and the first legs there were very tight and cagey affairs. I see no reason at all to not back 0-0 Half Time Score at 7/4 (Bet365), as I don’t see the price being that low for when the second leg arrives. Both teams are in the top-three for first-half records as well, but we can’t ignore the three-month layoff and the fact that both teams will need to adjust to this new normal.
Portsmouth v Oxford – 0-0 Half Time Score (7/4 Bet365)