Pompey v Middlesbrough
13th September 2008
It is back to Premier League action after the International break. Players are returning from all over the world in different states of fitness etc and both managers will leave it until as late as possible to finalise their line-ups.
After the great win at Everton, Pompey will be keen to start to climb the table and score at home for the first time since the 2-0 win over Wigan, nearly six months ago.
Boro have made a good start winning their two games against Stoke and Spurs both 2-1 and rather unluckily losing at Anfield to a late, late Gerrard goal. To prove the point Gareth Southgate has just been awarded manager of the month for August.
Pompey Team News:
Fans are looking forward to getting their first glimpse of Nadir Belhadj the Algerian who has arrived on loan although he may have to settle for a place on the bench.
Kanu is back fighting for a place for the first time this season after missing Nigeria's game to get fit. The England trio of David James, Jermain Defoe and Glen Johnson should have returned in top form after the Croatia result. No news yet of Ben Sahar`s knock picked up in Moldova.
Those definitely out are Niko Kranjcar (ankle) and Jerome Thomas (back) with Glen Little still trying to shake off his thigh injury.
Player to watch: Peter Crouch
Was rightly credited with the final goal at Goodison Park and will be keen to get off the mark at home. His partnership with Jermain Defoe is beginning to flourish and if 3-5-2 is the chosen formation it is Vital that Crouchie can get on the end of the number of crosses this formation will bring.
He will also be keen to up the pressure on Fabio Capello to include him in the England squad for the October games with Kazakhstan and Belarus.
Boro Team News:
Tuncay a key man up front was injured early on playing for Turkey against Belgium and must be rated very doubtful. I assume Mido will play with Alves in attack. Midfield star Mohamed Shawky picked up a hamstring injury in training with Egypt and will also miss out. Jeremie Aliadiere and Julio Arca are both back in training but David Wheater has been suffering from tonsillitis.
Player to watch: Gary O'Neil
GON was fired up for last season's encounter, some say too fired up, which upset Pompey fans who wanted to give a welcome home to their one time hero. A gifted midfield player, who has settled on the right at the Riverside, despite his dislike of the position. Pompey faithful always believed he was better in the centre.
Match Facts & Stats
This will be the 50th League meeting between the sides at Fratton and Pompey have the best of recent meetings although Boro did the double last season.
Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire) This will be his second Premier League game of the season after Blackburn v Hull City
Ace predictor-sea juicer- who correctly predicted England's 4-1 victory over Croatia says 3-1 to Pompey. How can I disagree? Put what you think here.