been forgiven for thinking at the beginning of the season that this clash could have been crucial in the League One playoff race, but due to Portsmouth’s woeful form of late, it looks like they may have already fallen out the running.
Sitting a lengthy 12 points behind the top six, Oxford United will be keen to take advantage of Portsmouth’s woes and pick up another three points in their own playoff bid this weekend.
Monday night’s defeat against Charlton Athletic all but ruled Portsmouth out of the running, with the Hampshire-based side having won none of their last five matches across all competitions.
Similarly, Pompey’s league form has been just as bad, with Danny Cowley’s side having last won a League One game back in mid-December – a run of five outings in the league without taking three points.
Having gone unbeaten in the previous 10 league outings prior to that, Portsmouth have gone from dreaming of a playoff push in the second half of the campaign to being forced to look over their shoulders and fend off their mid-table competitors.
The same cannot be said for Oxford, who will be confident of securing back-to-back top-six finishes, having been unsuccessful in the playoffs last time out.
Losers to eventual winners Blackpool in last season’s playoff semi-final, Oxford have once again continued to surpass expectations under manager Karl Robinson.
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The only thing that has stopped the U’s from competing for an automatic berth this season has been their inconsistent form, with Oxford having only recorded consecutive league wins twice since the middle of October.
After a well-earned point against promotion contenders Wigan Athletic in midweek, Robinson’s men will be eyeing up their first victory against Portsmouth since January 2019 this weekend.
For the visitors, their record against Oxford might read six games unbeaten as of now, yet Portsmouth have taken three points from just one of those clashes