Boro v Pompey in curtain raiser
Pompey make a welcome return to meaningful action at last, pre-season was a bit quiet, but here we go again!
Pompey roll into a new season with new owners, a few new players, a few now departed as well, but as always on the cusp of a new season, expectations amongst fans of a blue persusasion will be high, if not high definitely expectant.
Steve Cotterill was actively pursuing a couple of more bodies this week, he has admitted defeat for the 'Boro match, but he does seem optimistic of about 5 new faces in the the next 3 weeks. Tony Mowbray has spoken of Pompey's squad by admitting what we lack in quantity we make up for in quality, like last season we are light for a squad, but our strongest team is a strong team, it is only when injuries and suspensions hit that we will struggle.
Middlesborough Team News:
Boro lost Lita last week, that has weakened the striking options, but after Luke Steele's injury, Carl Ikeme has arrived to at least cover between the sticks.
Joe Bennett has been suffering with his hamstring while Andy halliday has turned an ankle.
Player to watch: Emnes
The Dutchman made the breakthrough last season and now will look to prove his contract is warranted.
Pompey Team News:
Pompey have a doubt over Dave Kitson who has a slight thigh injury, he thankfully is the only real doubt otherwise we would have had trouble filling the bench again, and with only 5 on it this term as well.
Steve Cotterill's starting 11 almost picks itself, in goal is his real quandry, I feel he will stick with Ashdown though, last season was relatively solid and he has probably earned a stay of faith.
Ryan Williams looks like being this years Ward, it's not often that SC sings the praises of youth, but the young Aussie has obviously made him sit up.
The only other absintee is definitely Jason Pearce, a straight red in his last outing sees him start a 3 match ban.
Player to watch: Varney
Reg or Stan as he will obviously be deemed, arrives with high hopes, along with David Norris he presents a bit more of a goal threat from midfield, he plays often as a left sided forward as well as a wide man, if he hits the ground running we could be in for a treat and new crowd favourite.
Match Facts & Stats
2-2 was the score last season, it was one of the matches that was the catalyst for the first great run in the season, 'Boro were amongst the promotion favourites at the time, and a draw was a fine result.
Paul Simonon (Brixton)
It's time to bet on the result once more, USPompey has won 3 years on the bounce now, if you feel you can knock him off his perch, place a prediction here.
First up at Fratton is the resurgent Brighton, thus bringing a long awaited derby back to Pompey!