Date:Friday November 17 2006
OLD FOES AT NEW LEVEL
Watford roll into Fratton come Saturday, a regular fixture ten years ago, but this time the stakes are a lot higher, in seasons past it used to be a mid-table meeting in the then Division 1, but now it`s the Premiership. Who could have forecast that back then?
Watford proved their worth last season, gaining promotion impressively over better equipped sides, a bit like ourselves when we charged up the table when highly un-fancied. The last time we met the Hornets stuffed us in the League cup after we had high hopes of progressing, so anyone looking at this as home banker had better look again.
Marlon King is missing long term after impressing last season, and so far goals have been hard to come by, just the nine so far in twelve premiership matches.
Ben Foster will be between the sticks at one end and England rival Jamo at the other, both will be hoping to show McClaren who is top dog, but you can bet your life the England supremo
will again be absent at Fratton, why change the habits that he and Sven before him stick to so well.
Glen Johnson will be sorely missed at right back again, if he ever pulls on the Pompey shirt again remains to be seen, but to be fair I thought Pamarot deputised ably against Fulham and hopefully can take a leap forward in his quest for the defensive slot. Gary O`neil looks a doubt, although he is starting light training again. If he is unfit, Kranjcar will be hoping for a rare starting place after again impressing for Croatia in Israel. Benjani is also still struggling with a niggle, as is Cole, last weeks goal hero, so both will probably feature on the bench.
So Lua Lua up front again? He still remains an enigma, when on form he can be devastating, when he is not, he is frustrating and infuriating in equal measures, and it seems bizarre that after a couple of seasons as a cult hero, a few fans would like to see the back of him.
Saturday will prove a lot to Pompey fans, we win and maybe we can look to sitting in the European spots, lose or draw and it will show we still have a very long way to go. No disrespect to Watford but teams like themselves should be brushed aside by European qualifying sides, as if you look at the table, Wigan stand out as the only team in the top ten we have actually beaten.
So, come Saturday night will it be eyes to Europe or eyes down, its up to you Pompey
Play up Pompey!
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