Date:Tuesday January 13 2009
Ashton Gate on a wet Tuesday in January is a far cry from a sunny Wembley in the middle of May but it is a necessary destination for a Pompey team trying to maintain their grasp on the trophy they won by defeating Cardiff last Spring.
Despite both teams spurning opportunities to progress, the first encounter between the current cup holders and the red half of Bristol ended goalless at Fratton Park ten days ago. This time however it is winner take all with the victors facing the prospect of home tie and potential banana skin against Histon in the fourth round should the non-leaguers defeat Swansea City.
Pre-match team news favoured the championship side. Bristol City manager Gary Johnson had towering centre back Jamie McCombe at his disposal following his recovery from stomach and pelvic injuries. Top scorer Nicky Maynard is also due a return after missing the first game with a calf problem. Winger Michael McIndoe was returning to fitness, while utility player Brian Wilson and left-back Jamie McAllister are also pushing for recalls. In fact Ivan Sproule is the Robins' only doubt as he struggled to shake off an ankle injury.
Pompey on the other hand are depleted, particularly in midfield. Diarra has gone to Real Madrid, Richard Hughes and Papa Bouba Diop are long term absentees and the in-form Sean Davis failed to report to training on Monday following a weekend stomach bug. Croation Niko Kranjcar is the only first choice midfielder available to Adams so Arnold Mvuemba and Marc Wilson were expecting to be asked to sit in the middle in a bid to protect a back four who, with the exception of the last two games, has looked decidedly shaky all season. Elsewhere the returning Younes Kaboul, Glen Johnson and John Utaka at least provided Adams with a few options for his starting XI.
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Date:Tuesday January 13 2009
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