Cotterill seeking first Portsmouth win in tricky Stevenage tie
Portsmouth face potential banana skin with a small squad at Stevenage in the Carling Cup
Steve Cotterill will again have to choose from a threadbare squad as he looks to secure a first competitive win as Portsmouth manager and avoid a giant killing against Stevenage in the Carling Cup.
The former Notts County boss was only able to name four substitutes in their opening day Championship defeat at Coventry and is on the road again as he faces a potential banana skin at last season’s Conference winners.
This is likely to mean that Cotterill will name an unchanged team for the first-round clash, with pressure on senior players including David Nugent and Tommy Smith to display the necessary firepower to see off the League Two opposition.
However, doubts are present as to whether Hayden Mullins can shake off a knee problem, while Danny Webber and Hermann Hreidarsson are definitely out for the cash-strapped club.
Portsmouth are 11/8 to seal victory in their first ever clash with Stevenage and continue their record of not having been eliminated in the first round of the tournament since falling to Colchester in 2001.
Nugent is the 4/1 favourite to open the scoring, with Smith a 7/1 chance, while they are 9/4 to leave their shooting boots at home for the second successive game.
As well as having to cope with playing in front of the television cameras, Stevenage have to contend with knowing that this is their first ever game in the Carling Cup.
Graham Westley’s side battled bravely to secure a point in their fixture with Macclesfield on their League Two debut and will be hopeful of making life just as difficult for Portsmouth at Broadhall Way.
Peter Vincenti opened the scoring against Macclesfield and is 9/1 to repeat the trick against Portsmouth, while Charlie Griffin, who grabbed the last-minute equaliser in the 2-2 draw, is 6/1.
An early Portsmouth goal could settle their nerves and they are 7/2 to score over 2.5 goals inside 90 minutes.