Pompey v Everton
If ever there was a time for Pompey to pick up a win - or at least a point - the live sky meeting with Everton, who we have a decent home record against in recent years, is the game to do it.
6 straight premier league defeats leaves us languishing at the bottom of the table, although to be fair the patched up side - which was playing catch up from the off - is starting to show signs that this could be a decent side, that is still good enough to stay up. I am certainly not throwing in the towel that is for sure!
All the off the field bulls**t continues to do us no favours, and on the eve of a 'vital game' this was the last thing you needed... Just when it looks like there are some signs that the fans are starting to become fully united in the support and the team looks to be gelling, along comes the latest 'saga'. Hopefully tonight's meeting can bring some positive news and we can go into the game tomorrow focusing fully on that, the game in hand!
Pompey Team News:
Paul Hart is playing it cautious with Aruna Dindane so, and to be fair maybe rightly so, he might not start with the Ivorian - perhaps preferring to save him for later in the game when Everton 'might' be tiring? Freddy P might also miss out from the start with Danny Webber pushing for a start, which I feel he may well get.
Steve Finnan has played a behind-closed-doors friendly and 'could' be handed a started, something I would do if he really is fully fit, but Anthony Vanden Borre will 'probably' keep his place with Finnan on the bench.
Papa Bouba Diop and Herman Hreidarsson are still recovering from their own injuries though so again miss out.
Player to watch: Danny Webber
With Dindane likely to start on the bench one of his strike partners from the midweek win over Carlisle should, for me, be given a go and I have seen enough from Danny Webber in the sub outing at Villa last week and start on Tuesday to think that he could be worth starting with as he carries a genuine goal threat. If in a 4-4-2 formation I would put him alongside Tommy Smith, if in a 4-5-1/4-3-3 as the spearhead with Smith and Freddy P as the wider players supplying him.
Everton Team News:
Former Pompey striker Yakubu picked up a slight groin injury during the week having recently returned from a long-term injury so if we are lucky he will miss out, although he is expected to be fit enough for the bench.
Steven Pienaar (foot) and Joseph Yobo (hamstring) require late fitness tests but both are set to be passed fit to start with Lucas 'the mercenary' Neill pushing for a start, although Russian Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (groin strain) is said to be struggling.
One man that we know all too well is Sylvain Distin, who returns to Fratton less than a month after leaving after deciding he no longer wanted to ply his trade on the South Coast, well at least officially deciding having - for me - decided this mentally some time before this.
Player to watch: Tim Cahill
Tim Cahill is an absolute menace - if we give him an inch in the penalty area he will take a mile, especially from set pieces! We have to ensure that we watch him very, very carefully. Although of course Yakubu has come back and scored in the week with Louis Saha also in goalscoring form, although The Yak might not make it?
Match Facts & Stats
Fratton needs to become that Fortress again but we have lost 4 of the last 5 league games we have played at home including the last 3. We have also failed to score in 9 of our last 12 league games - if you cannot score you certainly cannot win, and will more often than not lose!
'If' we lose at least we will be in good company as The BBC says that Manyoo were the last side to do this, lose their opening 7, way back in 1930/31 - they went on to lose their opening 12 games.
At least Everton have lost both of their away league games this season - lets hope they make it a hat-trick at the weekend!
The last time we played Everton, also at Fratton - and also on the box I seem to recall with an early kick-off - we won 2-1 when we came back from a goal down...Oh what I would give for a 2-1 win this weekend...
Over the past 7-days I had become very optimistic about this game but last night, and this mornings, shenanigans saw me waver slightly. That said with a decent record against Everton at Fratton recently and hopefully a vocal crowd backing us all the way, not to mention the improvement in this side we have seen, why not eh! Hedge your bets in the predictions league here.
After this game we have a vitally important trip to Wolves on Saturday 3rd October, 3pm kick-off, before the international break - a break that we cannot afford to go into off the back of anything less than a point, but lets concentrate on Everton first...
PLAY UP POMPEY!