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Walking the suspension tightrope

As we know with Sulley Muntari being sent off at the weekend and Papa Bouba Diop picking up a 10th booking of the season, both now face suspensions - but it could get worse if we are not careful…

Ordinarily Muntari would have merely severed a 1 match suspension for picking up two yellow cards, but as it was his second sending off this season it was automatically increased to a 2 match ban, Bouba Diop needlessly picking up a booking saw him chalk up his 10th of the season, which brings with it a mandatory 2 game ban.

Luckily both will be available for the semi final, when it at first looked like one, maybe even both could have missed this game depending on when the suspensions kicked in, but as they begin immediately they will 'only' miss the games with Spurs and Wigan.

Whilst we do seem to be well stocked with midfield options as Pedro Mendes, Richard Hughes, Sean Davis and Arnold Mvuemba all more than capable of deputising, any more cards picked up, particularly red ones could prove troublesome, while Davis is a booking away from his 10th of the season too, which would bring a 2 match ban.

So long as we are not reckless, and do not have any problems with injuries we 'should' be ok during this period, but we do need to be careful.

My own thoughts on the upcoming games would be that Mendes and Hughes - if fit - will come in to face Spurs this weekend, Mendes in particular coming back in really is something I would look forward to as he has been fantastic alongside Lassana Diarra so far and will of course be facing his former side, and this almost always seems to give you a little something extra…

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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday March 17 2008

Time: 4:44PM

Your Comments

Rug, I think you are right about Mendes and Hughes coming in, although I think the balance would be better with Mendes and Arnie...
ChrisW
I also think Mendes will come in, but I think either Utaka or Lauren will come in on the right side, especially against Spurs as Lennon and Jenas are dangerous down that side, and leaving it exposed with no real cover for Johnson would be dangerous.
sneakay
i would love to see mvuemba come in there, but i dont think he will be playing much untill next season. utaka needs to be playing a bit more over the next few games, as i think we will need him in the fa cup, so i reckon we will play him (for diop). and mendes in for muntari seems like the obvious choice, as he has played so well there in the past, although saun davis...whats happened to him?
pompeycarpet
The fear is losing the likes of David James & Diarra for the semi. I certainly would have them on the bench for Wigan, if it made sense even the Spurs game. Let's not get carried away with 6th. There is no way we should risk trying to get to 5th & fck up the cup run. 6th, 7th, 8th whatever it doesn't really matter. What matters is winning the cup. Who finished 7th two seasons ago, no remembers or cares. Winning the cup does & protecting the unreplaceable does.
storagematt
I disagree. I think we should field our strogest team for all matches and cross the bridge of injury worries when or if they happen. If we start puting players in cotton wool for some matches then the whole team will be affected mentally and become unbalanced again.
frattonaussie
Disagree FA. The 2 league games mean FA. All that matters is the FA Cup. If lose the cup be it semi or final & finish 6th, I'll be forever gutted. I don't want to be that close & miss out, been there too often in the last 30+ years. I want GLORY.
storagematt
It's a balancing act. When you rest players with a small squad like we have, you can disrupt the balance, get a couple of bad results and the whole team loses confidence. We're on a high right now, so personally, I'd see that as more of a risk than injuries. It's easy to say that the Cup is looking the best route for us right now, but if Yak picks up an injury and Everton start freefalling, it only takes a bad day in the cup and the best route just became the league again.
PhilTaglia
I totally agree Phil. Best to take one match at a time now. If we go arse up then so be it. We will still have had a good season.
frattonaussie
Finishing 5th and not winning the cup - Nah... An away trip to XAGF Sofia in August isn't gonna be a consolation.. Whereas Finishing 7th and winning the cup ... All of a sudden I've got my Ato Z of Eastern European countires out of the loft... Cup must be a priority.
Chix
Imagine finishing 5th then going into the Cup Final . we'd have at least one side of Merseyside cheering for us.. Imagine Liverpool relying on Pompey to get them into Europe !!
Chix
Hmm. Good arguments from all sides. Finishing 5th would be an incredible feat & I like our chances in the semi-final regardless of whose in. On the whole though, I think we should maybe use a very slight rotation just to keep the legs fresh (and with the exception of David James who gets no rest !). And Chix, a trip to XAGF Sofia sounds pretty good right now. There's more white stuff on the ground out here than a party at Manuel Noriega's house :)
Toronto4Pompey
anyone that says the llegue is the priority is wrong. (very subjective, i know). What can we achieve - at best - through the legue? well, we can get our best finnish in 2000 years, and have a slight chance of getting into europe, OR we could win the FA cup, and get into europe. If we dont win the cup now, i will seriously consider...errrmm...well, ill consider thinking about soething awfull...
pompeycarpet
I think all of our midfielders are of better quality than West Brom's - but recent matchplay is a key - I think Muntari and Diop may be a bit flat for the semi having had two games off - so who plays this week may also play in the semi....
StuartM
 

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