Date:Sunday August 27 2006
Pompey's first LIVE SKY Sports performance of the 2006/07 season sees a difficult looking trip to the Riverside Stadium to face Gareth Southgate's Middlesbrough.
Our record in LIVE televised SKY games was poor to say the least before our Premiership promotion, but since doing so we have a fairly decent record when being LIVE on SKY Sports, so hopefully this can continue on Monday night as Pete Alexander commentates in Fanzone.
Not really a lot of quotes coming out from Pompey this week, so although not wanting to dampen the mood I'll include these from 'arry highlighting his thoughts that additions to the squad NEED to be added this week.
"We need to improve the squad. We can all see that."
"We need an injection of pace in the team in several positions."
"But I don't know if it's going to happen. I just have to keep going."
Let's hope he is wrong, and his efforts in keeping on going will see at least a couple more arrive.
Middlesbrough will be missing Julio Arco (broken foot) and Ugo Ehiogu (Achilles) but other than youngster Matthew Bates possibly coming into the side in defence I`d not think many changes will be made from the side that beat Chelsea on Wednesday. Yakubu will be looking to score against us once again.
Following a couple of years plagued by injury the Spanish star looks as though he may be able to get someone near back to his best. In a relatively youthful Boro side his experience could be vital for them, and he will be a threat.
With Lomana LuaLua, Dean Kiely and Jamie Ashdown still out, other than Pedro Mendes being unavailable following his run in with Ben Thatcher's elbow on Wednesday I'd expect 'arry to name an unchanged side. David Thompson could come in for Mendes, although I'd expect it to be Richard Hughes.
To be honest I found it hard to single out one player, as they will all be very important here, and are all playing well. Davis gets singled out as I feel he's also getting back to someone near to his best, which saw him close to England recognition a few years back. He had a major hand in a couple of the goals against Blackburn, so if he keeps the delivery at its best Kanu and Benjani will be looking to get on the end. He's also due a goal himself!
* It's a tale of old verses new here. Southgate is the second youngest manager in the Premier League, whilst Redknapp is the second oldest.
* If the current patterns of results Boro have had at the Riverside continues they are due a defeat!
* Boro have already had their best start to a Premiership in six seasons.
* Going into the match Pompey are the only club yet to concede a Premiership goal this season.
* Pompey are yet to taste defeat at the hands of Boro in the Premiership, we've won three and drawn three.
* En route to our last League title in 1949 we beat Boro on their ground 5-1, this being the last time Boro we're beaten by Pompey on home turf in the highest Division. Could a win on Monday be an omen...?
* Gary O'Neil netted against Boro home and away last season.
* In League meetings at Middlesbrough Pompey only have 6 wins to Boro's 27 with 13 draws.
* In Premiership meetings at Middlesbrough neither side have won with all 3 being drawn.
Boro can be a real Jekyll and Hyde side, and have been for a number of years, so you can never tell what you are going to get. If Pompey can keep a third successive clean sheet then I think we'll win, as I'm sure we'll score, Boro will give us at least one really good opportunity. I think our record of not losing at the Riverside, and to Boro full stop in the Premiership will continue with us winning 2-0. PLAY UP POMPEY!!!
(After International break) 3pm Saturday 09-09-06, Wigan Athletic (h)
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Date:Sunday August 27 2006
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