Well, if you wanted someone in the ranks with a decent knowledge of Portmouth FC then we have it in Steve Cotterill. He’s been with us a month, and since then Pompey have been looked after in a caretaker capacity by Guy Whittingham and former Forest player Stuart Gray. It’s rumoured Cotterill would like Gray to come to the City Ground, but is respectfully awaiting what transpires with the managerial situation at Fratton Park.
This is the last game before a two week international break, so it would be rather good to go into that break with another positive result. I was going to say take the momentum from Tuesday into the game, but well, I guess we’re all hoping for something a little more captivating than that particular episode! Pompey aren’t doing too shabbily either – two wins, a defeat and in their last game a draw against in-form Crystal Palace.
It seems likely to me that we will – for the first time since Cotterill took over – name an unchanged line-up for this one. No fresh injury concerns is a frankly relieving thing to type – Ishmael Miller joins the crock-list after his hernia operation, a list of course also featuring the usual suspects of Blackstock, McCleary, Anderson and Cohen – and presumably Boateng (who didn’t get listed on the official site!).
Our hosts have injury doubts over Liam Lawrence – the Nottinghamshire born midfielder – and frankly, whilst I wouldn’t wish injury on him, this can only be good news – he’s a cracking player. I remember wondering why we never tried to sign him whilst he was still at the Stags way back in the day. Greg Halford will likely be available following surgery on his shoulder.
Historically we have the edge over Pompey with 19 all time wins over them compared to 16 for the South Coast side – however, and it might be wrong, I always think of them as quite troublesome opponents for us in more recent years. I’m too lazy to go and hunt out the stats. A little over a year ago they beat us 2-1 at Fratton Park, whilst back in January we beat them by the same scoreline thanks to two very late goals after Kanu had scored for them.
So we have two sides that have been struggling but appear to be turning a corner – both have talented but smallish squads, they’re within a league place of one another. Having Cotterill on hand will undoubtedly be a benefit to us, but of course, the fact that Pompey have seemed to pick up their form since his departure might suggest they’re doing things a little differently much as we are now thankfully now the useless Schteve has packed up.
It’s really tempting to predict a draw. And to be honest, a draw wouldn’t be too shabby at all – 10 points from a possible 15 under the new gaffer going into the International break would be the kind of prediction that would have you locked in a loony bin shortly after his appointment, after all. Wouldn’t a win be lovely though? Wouldn’t it? No, draw. At best. And virtual tinnitus thanks to that bugger with the bell.
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