Writer: Dan Brett
Date:Friday February 19 2010
With thirteen games left to play this season, Pompey can still mathematically still qualify for the UEFA Champions League. Of course, we all know that won't happen, but it just shows how although we're eight points adrift of Hull City, everything's still to play for.
In a week that's seen us balance sheets and cash-flow diagrams to the High Courts, attentions are forced to return to the pitch, hoping that off-field constraints won't still be on the mind of Pompey's battling contingent.
The revelation by CEO Peter Storrie this week that the club still have to sell their top stars will have also sent shockwaves around the dressing room, as finally in-form winger Nadir Belhadj is linked with a sensational move to the Nou Camp, to wear the blue and red stripes of Barcelona.
This however, makes me beg the question. Other than Belhadj and potentially James, what assets do we have left of any value? Considering that O'Hara, Dindane (we think), Piquionne, Quincy, Vanden Borre and Hassan Yebda are all on loan - where's the opportunity to raise any more funds?
The only stopping place I can think of is Kevin 'Le Nouveax Sulk' Prince Boateng. The German/Ghanaian cost the side an approximate £4Million from Tottenham Hotspur in June, so was ineligible to leave the South-Coast during the January transfer window.
However, with reports that FIFA are investigating allowing Pompey's players to leave outside of the window could have a very disengaging feeling amongst the squad, who'll no doubt be preparing in the changing rooms tomorrow, looking around wondering just which stars will still be here by the time we travel to Burnley next weekend.
Buoyed from the win over the Scum, a rejuvenated squad with players performing above and beyond all expectations (Yes, I mean you, Quincy), there's every chance that a win tomorrow could put us right back in the mix, causing an upset among pundits and bookmakers Worldwide.
I don't doubt we'll all be living on the back of that 4-1 win for quite some time… again. Having to be in the area of East-Fareham for educational commitments, I'm surrounded by a high number of deck-chair fans', so I was delighted to walk in Monday morning, finally having something to smile about.
The visit of Stoke City tomorrow, for me, is our first game of the season all over again. We've played the big boys (albeit a trip to Anfield and the visit of Chelsea), as well as playing big-spending Manchester City twice, therefore the remainder of the season consists of games that we have every chance of taking three points from.
The form books favour the Blue Army, as their record at home against the Potters is impressive, with the South-Coast outfit winning 27 of the 63 matches played in all competitions, with fourteen draws.
The last match played at Fratton Park saw the home side run out 4-0 winners in the Carling Cup. It's thought that Ivorian striker Aruna Dindane will be starting this match alongside John Utaka, or if you believe Sky Sports' preview, partnering Marc Wilson…
I'm going to plump for a 3-1 Pompey win tomorrow, being ever-positive and with the fact that Stoke will be without a few key faces, I fancy us to steal a few scrappy goals and push on for that 17th spot come the end of the season.
Date:Friday February 19 2010
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