Date:Saturday April 9 2011
Two teams lock horns in what is an important game for both, defeat for either and their seasons are effectively over, Preston are already 8 points adrift along with Scunthorpe at the bottom, while Pompey are 9 off of the last play-off spot.
Pompey have been the subject of more takeover speculation again this week, quieter than usual, but after all the guff spewed out the last few times, surely that's a good thing?
SC is trying to stage a late play-off assault with a team that he is also struggling to keep together next season, Nugent is holding off any contract talks until the close season, while Halford has indicated he would like to stay and de Laet has also pointed that if Manchester United don't want him this will be his first choice destination.
Pompey are in a luxurious position fitness wise at the moment, Liam Lawrence sustained no serious damage to his knee last week in the defeat at Reading, while Danny Webber made a surprise return to action after a year out.
The only blot is the absence of top dog Rocha, his red card saw the wrenching apart of his partnership with Greg Halford, it has seen 8 clean sheets in 10 matches, this has ultimately allowed Pompey to make this great late charge up the table.
How Steve Cotterill decides to shuffle his pack is any one's guess, Mokoena looks most likely to make the step up, although Sonko remains an option, along with the possibility of Dickinson coming back in and the whole defence being re-shuffled, my guess is that Cotterill will try and remain as close to possible to his strongest line-up and our club captain will return.
I was going to go with Kitson who owes all Pompey fans a big performance after last weeks debacle, but Nugent faces his former and first club, his goals have dried a little of late, but he remains a work horse for Pompey and will be fired up for this one.
Poor old Preston have had a kharzi season all round, 8 points adrift and defeat to reading last Tuesday their mini run of wins has been broken. one thing guaranteed is that Preston will be somewhat of a wounded lion, teams in their desperate position often play with a freedom, we ourselves are more than familiar with the situation after last seasons events, once all hope is lost the shackles really lift.
Preston have a few defensive worries themselves, Ricardo gardner has returned to Bolton after an impressive loan spell, wile David Gray and Connor McLaughlin have both suffered possible season ending injuries. Leon Cort is a possible return to the side though, he has returned to full training while the strikers Clarke and Brown have also returned to back up a side in desperate need of points.
The recent acqisition from Barnsley carries the most goal threat for Preston, until January they had relied heavily on Treacy scoring form midfield, but the goal he sored at Swansea really highlighted his threat, going on a run past 3 players and slotting home.
Pompey's record against Preston is far from impressive over the years, in 64 matches we have lost almost half of them whilst only recording 16 wins, the most recent of which was a 1-0 result in the FA cup in 2008, can't remember what happened after that!
The most recent league win was in October 2002, Stone, Merson and Matt Taylor scoring in a narrow 3-2 win.
Time is running out on the season, and your chance to break the monopoly at the top of the predictions chart, place your bet here.
Coventry on Tuesday evening.
Date:Saturday April 9 2011
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