A little late with this, apologies – whilst I’m typing this Billy and Mark Arthur will be hopefully sorting out Robbie Findley getting a work permit. Looking at the figures I can’t see why it would be a problem, he only doesn’t qualify automatically because he’s relatively new to the American team scene. That said, it’s a totally irrelevant diversion right at the start of this piece as it’s highly unlikely it’ll be resolved in time for this game!
So, back to the City Ground after a profitable trip to East Anglia, still on our home league run of games unbeaten and handed the opportunity to seek revenge for our defeat down at Fratton Park earlier in the season. Our visitors, on the other hand, are on a really tricky run of games – they’ve lost their last four league and cup games, and Steve Cotterill is having to ‘make-do’ somewhat in terms of funds and juggling injuries.
The Reds have no injury issues, and of course we can once again include Marcus Tudgay in the line-up after he was cup-tied for our game at Preston. Blackstock remains unavailable of course, but aside from that we have a clean bill of health. Whether Kelvin Wilson’s publicly stated desires to leave sooner rather than later impacts his chances, we shall see!
Portsmouth have a bit of a logistical problem with players – Dave Kitson and Greg Halford are suspended, Danny Webber is injured, Michael Brown and Richard Hughes aren’t playing due to ‘contractual issues’ – whatever that means! The potential fly-in-the-ointment for us is that influential midfielder Liam Lawrence has declared himself fit after overcoming a hip injury he sustained against Brighton. Ricardo Rocha too hopes to be available following injury.
It’s Lawrence we need to be watchful of – when Pompey first got him on loan I was very jealous – he’s a player I’ve admired since he was strutting his stuff for the Stags back in the day. Since then he’s seemed to show a preference for red and white striped shirts, but Pompey have secured his services on a permanent basis. He’s a dangerous player – as we found at their place when he notched the winning goal against us.
Because of their poor run of form, and because Cotterill is having to mix up his selections a bit it makes Portsmouth a tricky animal to tackle at this time – if you were to purely look at the form tables, respective teams’ player availability etc. then you would expect Forest to win, and I do – but with the always-present note of caution that comes with such bold predictions.
A good result to consolidate our form would be lovely, an opportunity to chalk up three wins on the bounce in all competitions for the first time this season would be a great way to lead into next weekend’s game at that place. Particularly if Watford could do the decent thing and give them a sound thrashing tomorrow!
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