The FA Cup Big Match Preview: Portsmouth vs AFC Bournemouth


Saturday 30th January – 15:00 – Fratton Park

After beating Championship side Ipswich via a replay in round three of the FA Cup, League Two Portsmouth will be hoping to claim a bigger scalp as they host Bournemouth on Saturday in what should be a fiercely contested South Coast derby in the fourth round. Pompey, who won the cup in 1939 and most recently in 2008, currently sit fifth in the fourth division seven points off the automatic promotion places. They have also beaten Macclesfield and Accrington so far in this season’s competition, with this being the furthest they have reached since finishing as runners-up in 2010. Bournemouth meanwhile came from behind to beat Birmingham City 2-1 in the last round, and sit four points clear of safety in 16th in the Premier League. They haven’t reached the fifth round since 1989 when they lost in a replay against Manchester United at Old Trafford, one of only three times in their history that they reached that stage of the competition.

Team News


  • New loan signing Kieron Freeman is cup-tied, after playing for parent club Sheffield United in earlier rounds.
  • Ben Close could replace Adam Barton or Michael Doyle and leading scorer Conor Chaplin, Adam McGurk, and Christian Burgess could also return.
  • Midfielder Danny Hollands has been ruled out of the game with a knee injury.


  • Eddie Howe made 11 changes for the third round tie at Birmingham, and is likely to heavily rotate his squad once again.
  • Captain Tommy Elphick is back in the squad after ankle surgery but Junior Stanislas (knee) is out for this game and probably two more weeks.
  • Forwards Callum Wilson and Max Gradel both miss out as they continue their long-term rehabilitation after knee injuries.

The Key Battle: Conor Chaplin vs Sylvain Distin


At just 18 years old, Portsmouth striker Conor Chaplin is being touted for big things after an impressive season so far. He is the League Two side’s top scorer with eight goals in all competitions so far.

Chaplin has already scored against higher division sides Derby County, Reading and Ipswich in cup competitions so far this campaign and will be hoping that he can add Bournemouth to that list.

20 years his senior, Sylvain Distin is likely to play at centre-back for the Cherries as he did against Birmingham in round three. The Frenchman spent two years at Portsmouth, and won the FA Cup with them in 2008.

He now has to prevent his former side creating an upset, but will his veteran legs be capitalised on by the pace of Chaplin? Or will his experience shine through?

Previous Meetings

Portsmouth wins = 9 / Bournemouth wins = 7 / Draws = 4

*According to

Last Meeting: Bournemouth 1-0 Portsmouth (6th August 2013)


Eunan O’Kane scored the only goal as Bournemouth beat Portsmouth to reach the Capital One Cup second round. The Irishman netted on the rebound when a Ryan Fraser shot had been pushed out by Pompey keeper Phil Smith on 54 minutes. The Cherries were the better side throughout and deserved their win. Wes Thomas blazed a header over and Smith produced a fine save to keep out Andrew Surman’s 20-yard shot, but the hosts did not need a second goal. Tom Craddock came closest to netting for Pompey with a rasping strike that went just wide with the score 0-0. [adapted from BBC]

Managers Quotes


Paul Cook: “This tie’s a reward for the patience the supporters have shown over the last couple of years. It really should be a special day for everyone. We just want to win the game. We’re in the cup competition to do the best that we can – we’re very respectful of the strength Bournemouth have. We look forward to playing in what I’m sure will be a fantastic game. When you get two teams together who look to play football in the manner we do, the likelihood is it will be a good game.”

Eddie Howe: “It’s been quite a turnaround for both clubs really in terms of what’s happened in quite a short space of time. I think it’s a great cup tie. Portsmouth is a club that we’ve got a lot of time for here, there are several links between the players and them. We look forward to it, but what we do know is it’s going to be a very tough game as Paul Cook has done a fantastic job there. He’s re-grouped the club. He’s got them going again and they look a real team.”

The Referee – Mike Dean

  • Last FA Cup game: Norwich City 0-3 Manchester City (9th January 2016) – 2 yellow cards, o red cards
  • Last Portsmouth game: Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 Portsmouth (10th March 2012) – 2 yellow cards, 0 red cards
  • Last Bournemouth game: West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Bournemouth (19th December 2015) – 3 yellow cards, 2 red cards

Infographic (courtesy of Sporticos)

Sporticos_com_portsmouth_fc_vs_bournemouth_afc (5)

All data is just from the FA Cup and correct up until 29th January 2016

Stat of the Match

Bournemouth have lost just one of their last seven competitive away matches (W3 D3 L1).

Where Can I Watch It?

It baffled me to find out that this game isn’t being shown live on TV in the UK – strange one from the broadcasting bigwigs. Instead, you can follow the game on BBC Radio Solent, whilst there will be highlights on BBC One’s FA Cup Match of the Day on Saturday evening at 10:30pm.

My Prediction: Portsmouth 1-1 Bournemouth


It’s a game that both teams should be fired up for, but with Bournemouth likely to play a weaker side, this could be a chance for Portsmouth to create an upset. I think that Adam McGurk will give them the lead, but there’s still a lot of quality in the Cherries side, especially going forward, meaning that Glenn Murray will equalise to take the tie to a replay. Back at Dean Court could be where the dream ends for Portsmouth.


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