The relentless run of league fixtures takes a breather, as the Papa John’s Trophy takes centre stage this evening.
Pompey head to Whaddon Road to face League Two side Cheltenham (7pm kick-off) for a place in the third round.
It is the hosts who were seeded for the draw, however, after topping Southern Group F, ahead of Norwich’s youngsters.
They won all three of their fixtures – which also included games against Plymouth and Newport – and did not concede a single goal in the process.
Like the Blues, however, their priority will be promotion, with the Robins currently sitting second in the fourth tier standings following a thrilling 5-3 victory over Exeter at the weekend.
Fans will be hoping for a better finish than last term, when they let slip a two-goal lead from the first leg of the play-offs to suffer an aggregate defeat to Northampton.
Cheltenham have never previously lifted the EFL Trophy – in any of its guises – while Pompey are, of course, the current holders and are still waiting to play last term’s final.
The hosts are also yet to enjoy a competitive win against the Blues, although five of the previous six meetings finished all square.
And the exception to that was certainly a memorable affair, with a 6-1 triumph at Fratton Park on the final day of the 2016/17 campaign sealing the League Two title for Paul Cook’s men.
In the event of a draw after 90 minutes this evening, the tie will be decided by a penalty shoot-out.
Pompey will make 11 changes from the side that beat Peterborough in the league on Saturday, with some youngsters set to be given a chance to impress.
Michael Jacobs has returned to training following a knee ligament injury, but this evening’s game comes too soon for the midfielder.
Cheltenham are also likely to freshen things up, with their manager Michael Duff revealing that several members of his squad are carrying knocks.
VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Read the thoughts of Kenny Jackett ahead of the game.
HEAD TO HEAD
Pompey: 1 win
Cheltenham: 0 wins
At Whaddon Road
Pompey: 0 wins
Cheltenham: 0 wins
Referee: Kevin Johnson
Assistants: John Flynn and Christopher Husband
Fourth Official: Christopher Kidd
Supporters in the UK can watch the action live – with graphics, commentary and replays – by purchasing a match pass for £10.
Please note that subscribers based in the UK and Ireland will still need to purchase a match pass in order to watch the game live.
There will be post-match reaction on the website and our official YouTube channel, with highlights to follow on Wednesday.
ALSO IN PAPA JOHN’S TROPHY
Games kick-off at 7pm unless stated
Hull v Crewe (5.30pm)
AFC Wimbledon v Arsenal U21 (6pm)
Oldham v Sunderland (6pm)
Accrington v Manchester United U21
Exeter v Northampton
Leyton Orient v Bristol Rovers
Peterborough v West Ham U21
Port Vale v Wolves U21
Salford v Leicester U21
Shrewsbury v Lincoln
Cambridge v Gillingham U21 (7.45pm)
Fleetwood v Blackpool (7.45pm)
MK Dons v Norwich U21 (7.45pm)
Oxford v Forest Green (7.45pm)
Tranmere v Manchester City U21 (7.45pm)