DES Buckingham is hoping to take full advantage of not having a midweek game, as he prepares to take his Oxford United side to the league leaders.

United make the trip this weekend to a Portsmouth side sitting seven points clear at the top of Sky Bet League One.

If the task wasn’t daunting enough already, Pompey also boast the second best home record in the division.

John Mousinho’s side has collected 37 points from 17 games at home, the same tally as Blackpool, but without as strong a goal difference. Bolton Wanderers are third in the home rankings, a point behind the top two.

With the Seasiders at Shrewsbury Town on Saturday, Pompey know a positive result which betters the Trotters would secure them another bragging right in League One.

ANALYSIS: How likely is it that U’s will hit Des Buckingham’s play-off points target?

For the U’s though, a midweek with no game has allowed head coach Buckingham more time to work with his players and prepare for the challenge which waits for them at Fratton Park.

Speaking yesterday afternoon, he said: “When you play Saturday-Tuesday, you get very limited time to do anything, other than recover and prepare.

“I say prepare, but it might be an hour to walk through some tactical work.

“When you get time, like we’ve had this week, you can actually really start to develop and build your style, because you don’t have to spend just the one day preparing for a team you’re going to play.

“For Portsmouth, we’ve been able to spend Monday and Tuesday building on what we’re doing, in terms of how we want to press.

“We spent Tuesday looking at how we want to build from the back, and we’ve spent today looking at what we want to do in the final third.

“Then we’ll tweak what our playing style looks like in preparation for Portsmouth, but the last couple of months have been very much about trying to prepare for the team we’re facing.

“Week to week, the more time we get together, the more we can work.”

There were a couple of unexpected results in League One on Tuesday night, with automatic promotion hopefuls Derby County and Bolton beaten by Charlton Athletic and Wigan Athletic respectively.

Buckingham expects more twists and turns in the promotion race between now and the end of the campaign.

He said: “You saw even on Tuesday night, the results around this league. You’ve got teams, regardless of league position, beating teams in higher positions.

“That’s going to continue. The important thing is that we just look at the Portsmouth game and work as hard as we have done this week.

“The players have been excellent on the pitch and we’ve done some really good stuff off the pitch.”