Date:Tuesday March 9 2010
For a 2nd time in 4 days we welcome Birmingham to Fratton. Having dispatched of them in the FA cup we will be looking to build on a 'mini-run' by claiming all 3pts tonight.
If the players are as much up for this game as they were the weekend one then why not eh!
Fratton was rocking on Saturday when we secured our place in the semi final of the cup - I am sure it will be a quality atmosphere tonight although sadly I doubt it will be much more than ¾ full, at best, to be honest...
Nevertheless we saw them off at the weekend, so why not do it again but this time in the league?
Wins breed confidence, we have now won back-to-back games for only the 2nd time this season, although the 2nd time this year it must be added.
Hassan Yebda, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Tommy Smith - injury - all miss out and Aaron Mokoena and Anthony Vanden Borre are about 'doubtful'. Rocha John Rocha sits this one out through suspension as he completes this before 'probably' returning next Monday as he chases an unwanted hat-trick of red cards...
I suspect Avram Grant will tinker a little tonight, Quincy will start I reckon and I have this feeling that Jamie O'Hara 'might' be rested - I hope not, but as important as he was at the weekend, as ever, I could not help but think he was a little off the pace due to his back problem. We cannot take any risks with that, we will need him to face Fulham in the semi, failing that Villa or Chelski in the final!
I will go for Quincy to 'cut em up' tonight - he will be keen to stake his claim for a semi final place so he will be up for it. Also against former sides, as Birmingham are for him, you often find a player has an especially good game.
Gary O'Connor - groin - and Lee Carsley - ankle - are both still out although Birmingham have no fresh injuries by all accounts. Michel, a January signing, should come into the side though.
To be honest I know little, in fact nothing, about the guy with the girls name but all the talk is that he will come in to make his 1st start for the club - I guess he will be keen to impress, right?
The last minute defeat at St Andrews early in the season - through a James McFadden penalty - leaves them on for the double, we cannot let another side complete the double over us!
Well that victory some 33-years in the making was secured at the weekend - we avenged that long FA cup wait by laying to rest that 1-0 defeat back in 1977. In doing so we extended our run to just 3 defeats in the last 11 meetings with Birmingham, and all of those defeats came away.
The last time they beat us at Fratton was back in September 1998, we lost 1-0 in what happened to be my first game at Fratton under floodlights incidentally...
In many ways we won the 'more important' game against the Brummies, but I ALWAYS want to win, as I do tonight. Wins breed confidence, but can we secure a 3rd straight win for the first time in 15-months?
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Date:Tuesday March 9 2010
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