Battle for first place as Pompey host West Ham’s youngsters in the EFL Trophy


The attention turns to the Papa John’s Trophy for Portsmouth tomorrow evening as they look to secure top spot in Group A, ahead of West Ham under 23’s

Comfortable wins over Southend United and Colchester United have seen Kenny Jacket’s side sit top of the group heading into the final game, ahead of the Hammers only on goal difference.

With home advantage at stake for the winners, it puts plenty on tonight’s game with Pompey having won the last two editions of the competition, it gives them plenty of experience of ties like these.

The side also progressed through in the FA Cup thanks to an excellent 3-2 victory over Ipswich Town after extra time so come into the game on the back of some strong results.

Much like their hosts, the Hammers have also endured a strong start to this competition, seeing off league sides Southend United and Colchester United 3-1 and 1-0 respectively.

With a quick turnaround from the clash against Ipswich at the weekend, Jacket isn’t going to be able to call upon Andy Canon who pulled his groin in the win, but Callum Johnson could be fit enough to make it after suffering a dead leg.

Jackett spoke to Hampshire Live after the game, explaining how playing 120 minutes wasn’t as bad as it would usually be with a 13-day gap between the league fixtures of Lincoln City and Plymouth Argyle.

“It is a balance to be able to do that, fair play to them. From my point of view, we don’t play now for nine days in the league, so that swayed my decision because if we had gone from last Tuesday at Lincoln to a week on Monday, that’s then 13 days without playing.

“I’m not sure whether that is necessarily right. You do risk injuries though, I understand that. Similarly, we want to try and progress in the cup and we have.

“Nobody that was involved today will play. We’ll change that group, we’ll have to and that will be the case. We have a little bit of a gap before we go down to Plymouth.”

Despite performing well in this competition to date, the Hammers have struggled in the top division of the Premier League two and sit bottom of the table having collected just two points from their opening seven games.

With the home side set to ring the changes it could be a perfect opportunity for the London side to secure their third victory of the season and secure a home time in the next round.

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