League Two Midweek Betting: Time for Pompey to be ruthless

Portsmouth fans should be in a good mood after their long trip to the North West
Portsmouth fans should be in a good mood after their long trip to the North West

Portsmouth must "gel" good soon if they are to underline their position as title favourites and should win at Morecambe on Tuesday, says Ian Lamont, while Exeter can't expect to have everything go their way at home to Crawley as much as the odds would suggest...


"Jason Banton's run down the left and his testing cross was the key point of Crawley's goal on Saturday and will be a worry to Exeter, who know all about him from his time at local rivals Plymouth."

Morecambe 5.04/1 v Portsmouth 1.845/6; the draw 3.9

Paul Cook won't be pleased about Portsmouth's start to the season, but he won't be panicking either.

"Be more ruthless," was essentially his message to his players after their goalless draw at Crewe.

You would think he would take advantage of a second long away trip in four days by having the squad stay in the north west for a few days, especially as he says they need to gel yet.

Experienced midfielder Danny Rose, having joined from Northampton Town, says he is still learning from skipper Michael Doyle, his new midfield partner. That won't change, however much they gel.

But gel they must if Pompey are to live up to pre-season title favourites.

Morecambe boss Jim Bentley was delighted with victory over Blackpool, but admitted his side rode their luck. Tom Barkhuizen strides forward leading counter-attacks and Morecambe have their own Rose - Michael - who is capable of disrupting an opposition's defence. However, the visitors will be in determined mood to make one of their longest trips of the campaign really count and get their season started.

Recommended Bet:
Back Portsmouth @ 1.845/6


Carlisle 2.111/10 v Cheltenham 4.03/1; the draw 3.613/5

In contrast to Paul Cook, Carlisle boss Keith Curle will be happy with the way his side have started the season - they are one of nine teams locked on four points at the top.

Reggie Lambe put Plymouth to the slaughter with his second goal of the season, but it was Nicky Adams who starred in the victory, creating many chances with his crosses. That's on the back of a solid looking defence built through Danny Grainger's experience. It's always a worry when teams don't score many, because they are vulnerable to being pegged back. Charlie Wyke and Shaun Miller need to start putting in the shots on target. The Cumbrians only had one against Plymouth and nine off.

Cheltenham haven't entirely found their feet in this division yet, starting with two draws. A third on the trot is tempting at 3.613/5. Gary Johnson told Robins fans after the draw at Mansfield that the season will get better.

They have come back from 1-0 down twice. Maybe with tight results the order of Saturday's results - five draws and no match featuring more than three goals - Cheltenham can take another draw, possibly at 1-1.

Recommended Bets:
Back the draw @ 3.613/5
Back 1-1 @ 7.26/1


Exeter City 2.01/1 v Crawley Town 4.47/2; the draw 3.613/5

It seems strange that Crawley are such a big price, given Exeter's poor start to the season, with two defeats to show so far. Paul Tisdale's men will come good - or better - I am sure, but there is no reason for them to be odds-on against the Reds, like they were to begin with before moving to evens, which is still short.

Liam McAliden gave the Grecians the lead against Hartlepool, whose boss Craig Hignett gave his side a rollocking at half-time and was rewarded with two goals with a quarter of an hour to go.

Robbie Simpson needs to start showing the skills which he did for Cambridge last season in the Exeter attack and guide youngster Ollie Watkins, 20, through what is required.

Crawley manager Dermot Drummy says he brought in Chelsea's Alex Davey on loan until January because he felt he needed competition for defensive places, even before Mark Connolly was sent off last Tuesday.

A point at Doncaster will really have boosted their confidence, even if James Collins bundled in their goal from a yard out. Jason Banton's run down the left and his testing cross was the key point of that move and will be a worry to the hosts here. Banton, formerly of Plymouth until a year ago, will be well known to Exeter.

As Crawley also won their opening match, there seems to be little reason to think that Exeter will have this match their own way, a position the odds would seem to suggest. That means the hosts must be a lay at the price.

Recommended Bet:
Lay Exeter @ 2.01/1


P/L 20-16-17

-2.5pt

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