Portsmouth and Hull City will put their unbeaten records so far in 2021 on the line this weekend, when the pair meet at Fratton Park.

City's 3-0 win over play-off chasing Accrington Stanley saw them move back to the top of League One, with Pompey hot on their heels a point and two places behind in third after thumping AFC Wimbledon 4-0.

A month ago, the Blues won at the KCOM Stadium to dislodge the Tigers to become Christmas number ones, but with five positive results and renewed positivity, the Tigers will be hoping to gain revenge.

Here, Hull Live takes a closer look at Saturday's big 3pm game.

Setting the scene

On Saturday, Fratton Park will host two of the clubs desperate to escape the clutches of League One with one of Hull City or Portsmouth possibly ending the day top – the same scenario which faced both before Christmas.

A month on from a very strange encounter at the KCOM Stadium which Pompey won 2-0 despite not having a shot on target, the pair meet again but this time at Fratton Park on the south coast.

It’s an easy claim to suggest this is the biggest game of City’s campaign and that it could define their campaign, when in fact, the fixture needs to be put into some perspective.

Come 5pm, irrespective of the result, there will still be 23 games remaining this season and more than enough time for either the Tigers or Blues to win automatic promotion – the ultimate end goal of both.

What this game will do, however, is give either side a huge shot in the arm going forward towards the end of the month and beyond.

Portsmouth haven’t conceded a goal in six games and that includes the win at the KCOM, while City have failed to score in just two league matches all season and remain unbeaten in their last five outings in all competitions – dating back to the defeat before Christmas.

In short, something has to give.

If we’re looking for positives, Pompey’s home record hasn’t been as strong this term as it was last and with the transfer business the Tigers have done so far in January, the mood is a very different one compared to what it was a month ago.

This is a fixture befitting of a higher level, and it’s one both clubs will be desperate to see played in the Championship next season – though Lincoln City may well have something to say about those proposals.

Whatever happens at Fratton Park won’t decide the season, but it could certainly give an injection of confidence if there is to be a winner.

City will be focused on the three points, but coming off the back of that thumping win over Accrington on Tuesday night, a point would be a very good one.

They might be frugal at the back, but City look sharp in attack so there is to be no post-war record for the home side.

Prediction: Pompey 2-2 Hull City

   

Hull City team news…

Reece Burke is available after serving his one-match suspension for his straight red card against Blackpool, but there will be no Tom Eaves or Martin Samuelsen. Callum Jones is fit again and involved in training.

Elsewhere, boss Grant McCann gave a clean bill of health ahead of Saturday’s lengthy trip south.

Portsmouth team news…

There will be no Alex Bass and Paul Downing, who are missing because of calf and hamstring problems respectively.

Following Tuesday night’s 4-0 win over AFC Wimbledon at Fratton Park, the Blues have reported no fresh injury concerns.

What’s their verdict?

“Of course it’s a big game and it’s always great to be able to affect the sides around or above you in the table,” said boss Kenny Jackett.

“But just winning this one isn’t going to get us to where we want to be – we have to prove ourselves on a consistent basis.

“If you’re one of those three sides that secure promotion at the end of the season, then you’ll need a big points total.”

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Hull City's Josh Magennis reacts after the final whistle against Portsmouth

Portsmouth overview…

Since the win at the KCOM, Pompey have been in great form winning five and drawing just one of their six league games since – results which see them top of the form table.

And in those games, the Blues have found the net 11 times without conceding, so the measure of the task for Grant McCann’s Tigers is very clear.

What happened last month will have little bearing on this weekend’s meeting with City in a very different place to what they were then, both on and off the pitch.

While City will be making the journey to Lancashire on Tuesday night to renew acquaintances with Accrington Stanley, Pompey will be title rivals Lincoln City as the big games keep on coming.

Haven’t we got previous?

Very recently. The game on December 18 finished 2-0 to the visitor’s thanks to own goals from Jacob Greaves and Josh Magennis – Pompey failed to have a shot on target.

City’s record against the team from east Yorkshire at Fratton Park is mixed; 12 defeats, 11 draws and four wins.

The Tigers most recent win on the South Coast came in January 2011 – a 3-2 success courtesy of goals Jimmy Bullard, Matty Fryatt and Nick Barmby.

The key battle: Tom Naylor vs Mallik Wilks

Naylor was Pompey's best player at the KCOM, proving to be an absolute nuisance throughout for City. Wilks, for his part, is in fine form having notched up his 12th goal of a productive campaign so far on Tuesday evening.

Naylor will likely be charged with stopping Wilks coming in off the left at Fratton Park, and the winner of this head-to-head could go a long way to shaping the outcome of the game.

Fancy a flutter?

Unusually this season, City go into the game as slight underdogs, according to The Pools. A home win is 7/5 with 13/8 on an away victory, the draw is 11/5.