Date:Friday March 30 2012
The term 'must win' has been thrown around a lot in the last few weeks, and so far, Pompey have only won 2 of their 4 'must win' games. On Saturday, the Blues hope to make it 3 from 5 as Burnley visit Fratton Park for what will be Portsmouth's 8th and final game in March.
A win for Pompey could see them climb out of the drop zone just weeks after being assigned as 'dead certs' for the plunge to League 1, but with 6 tough games still to play there could be a number of twists and turns left in the title race.
Pompey escaped unscathed from Tuesday's victory over Hull, with Joel Ward shaking off a knock he received in the first half to last the 90 minutes. After resting Ricardo Rocha, Appleton will have a tough decision in regards to bringing him back in or sticking with the impressive 17-year old Karim Rekik, who was very impressive on his debut for the club.
Varney hasn't exactly been firing on all cylinders of late, and with Maguire being our star man in the last few games, Luke will be looking to remind the manager and the fans that he can be a creditable threat.
Eddie Howe's men have had an extra few days of rest over the Blues, and have should have the same players available that held on for a point against West Ham last Saturday. More importantly, they may see the return of their danger man...
The England U21 international has missed the last 3 games with a groin problem, but could be set to return this weekend. He has scored 15 of Burnley's 50 goals in the Championship this season, and has the attention of a few Premiership clubs.
Pompey have amassed 7 points from their last 3 games at Fratton Park whereas Burnley haven't won in their last 7 games. Away from home, Burnley have one of the best records in the league, winning 8 games.
Head to head there is nothing to separate the two sides, each boasting 20 wins to their name, with 9 games finishing level. It took a 93rd minute goal from David Norris to separate these two sides when they met earlier in the season, giving Portsmouth a rare away win.
If Pompey play like they did against Hull on Tuesday then it should be another 3 huge points. But two things we should be wary of is complacency and fatigue. I'm gonna punt for a win, but it won't be comfortable or pleasant to watch at times. 1-0 to Pompey with a scrappy goal midway through the second half.
Just a little trip to 'that lot down the road'. Here comes the noisiest bubble you'll ever hear.
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Date:Friday March 30 2012
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