The New Era Begins
The dawning of hopefully a great new era is upon us as the 2006/07 Premiership Season gets underway this afternoon. Pompey entertain one of last seasons surprise packages Blackburn Rovers at Fratton Park. A sure sell-out crowd will be looking to see Pompey start the campaign as we mean to go on.
"Blackburn are a really strong side as they proved last season, but we're at home and we'll give anyone a game on our day."
"I still get the buzz ahead of the season. It's still there for me. It's always good to start at home and there will be a cracking atmosphere."
"It would be great to start off on the right foot tomorrow." (Today!)
Pompey Team News:
All of the summer transfer window signings thus far will be a part of the squad. David James will make his debut in goal, his selection easier for Redknapp with Kiely and Ashdown`s injuries. Youngster Nick Jordan will be on the bench in reserve.
Sol Campbell and Glen Johnson will also make debuts as they line up in the defence. Nigerian Kanu, the latest transfer capture, signing during midweek is likely to partner Svetoslav Todorov up front. David Thompson should start the game on the bench.
Other than the injured Lomana LuaLua, Benjani, Dean Kiely and Jamie Ashdown, Redknapp has a full strength squad to select from, so with the exception of the four new boys and those unavailable it will be pretty much same as usual for Pompey.
Player to watch: Kanu
May be viewed as a surprise choice, but with so much attention given to Sol Campbell not only for his debut, but his 500th game (he will also be key to this game though, and the season with his marshalling of the back four) I think Kanu will be looking to prove a point and will be out to give his all.
Blackburn Rovers Team News:
Other than Ryan Nelsen (a player often linked with Pompey during the summer) and Brett Emerton both definitely missing through injury, with the possible exception of Steven Reid who has been nursing and ankle injury and the suspended Tugay, Mark Hughes will have a full strength squad to select from.
Former Pompey loan man Jason Roberts will start up front with fellow summer arrival, and one time Pompey target Benni McCarthy.
Player to watch: Morten Gamst Pedersen
In a game that could see few chances for Blackburn (hopefully!) Pedersen could be a real threat from long range and dead ball. Will need to be kept quiet and out of the game.
Match Facts & Stats
* Pompey are yet to register a win against Blackburn at Fratton Park in the Premiership.
* Goals from Teddy Sheringham and Yakubu at Ewood Park on 27th March 2004 were enough to give Pompey their one and only Premiership win over Blackburn.
* Blackburn have won three and drawn one of the last four meetings.
* Pompey enter the game off the back of Championship winning form at the tail end of last season (six wins and two draws from the final ten games.)
* Although Blackburn themselves come into this game off the back of three straight win at the tail end of last season, all with clean sheets.
* In League meetings at Fratton Pompey have 15 wins to Blackburn`s 7, with 9 draws.
* In Premiership meetings at Fratton Pompey have 0 wins, to Blackburn`s 2, with 1 draw.
A match Pompey will be looking to win. Fratton was beginning to resemble "Fortes Fratton" again so a win will signal our intentions for the coming season. A clean sheet will almost certainly see us win as I`m sure we`ll score at least once. I`ll go for a narrow Pompey win. PLAY UP POMPEY!!!
7:45pm Wednesday 23-08-06, Manchester City (a)