Date:Saturday November 3 2012
FA Cup action this afternoon with Pompey heading into the home clash on the back of a somewhat unjust loss at the hands of still unbeaten Sheffield United. It would be nice to see a 3rd Cup final charge in 5 years however, I really doubt it this time round. County head into the game knowing that they have already beaten the Blues this year and there is no reason why the 3-0 win earlier this season can't be repeated. Pompey know the dangers this County side pose and it is up to them to get together and sort out what went wrong last time round.
'Loan Raider' is circulating Pompey as manager Appy has listed Gibraltar man Liam Walker for loan. It comes as mixed feeling news as Pompey are short on squad depth however, Appy believes it's the right move to help Walker develop. Also set to join the loan list is 21-year-old Josh Thompson. The English centre-half hasn't made an appearance for some time so Appleton sees it right for his career that he spends time away playing regular football. In other news, morale has taken a boost in the arms of Pompey keeper Simon Eastwood. Mikkel Andersen has planted all his confidence in fellow keeper Eastwood ahead of him missing today's game as he is cup-tied following him being loaned to Pompey by Reading. 'Andersen is backing pal Eastie' is a nice headline showing the squad's tight-knit relationships and squad chemistry.
Pompey are without three cup-tied players in the forms of No.1 Keeper Andersen, left-back Carl Dickinson and midfielder Scott Allan. None of these players have been approved to play ahead of today's game as weary parent clubs hold them as back-ups in case of injury and suspension. Pompey also have two players sidelined through injury going into today's match as Ashley Harris is out with an ankle injury he suffered in training this week. Darrell Russell has been out over a month now and will remain this way has he strives to return to match fitness following the torn hamstring he suffered a while back in Pompey's second month of League One football.
Former NY Redbulls striker Luke Rodgers is out to prove a point today as the gate opens for him following the 5 absentees Pompey have to deal with. The little forward hasn't made his mark yet this season and should be geared up to make it today as this match should prove a glorious chance for him to get game time as Pompey only have a selection of 1 striker to play not including Rodgers. He could line up with Izale McLeod to provide the killer touch in today's battle. Liam Walker may also be out to prove his point today before he is sent out on loan. The 24-year-old midfielder may return to first team football today after being dropped over a month ago. Coincidently, his last game was against County in the 3-0 away defeat on September 22nd so he will look to get revenge if he receives the chance later today.
The Magpies are without a number of players through injury today and will have to shuffle around the squad in order to play players in comfortable positions. Goalkeeper Fabian Spiess, defender Manny Smith and midfielder Joss Labadie are all out with knee injuries whereas Julian Kelly is out with a hamstring problem, Tom Williams is out through a calf injury and Carl Regan will also watch from the stands because of an ankle problem.
Arquin was my player to watch last time and fatefully he scored. Fingers crossed history won't repeat itself however I pick him again following the good team player role he possesses. His five goals with as many assists proves the need to keep him isolated in today's game and it will be a tough job for the likes of Pompey defenders Lubimor Michalik and Gabor Gyepes. He plays well in the partnership of himself and Francis Zoko so it will be a good job if Pompey gain a clean sheet.
The Magpies boast the more successful record against the Blues with 9 wins from 22 clashes. However, Pompey have conjured 7 victories against County so will have high hopes if history comes into play. The sides have drawn 6 times since the aftermath of the Second World War and it will remain this way following the game being a cup match.
2-2 and 5-4 on penalties in favour of Pompey. Both sides are strong and it is hard to determine which will become triumphant so I think this will lead to a battle to the wire on what looks like a sunny day on the South Coast.
Pompey return to league action in 3 days time with a floodlight game on Tuesday night. The Blues welcome Brentford to Fratton Park for the first time since 1993 in what will be a hotly contested match beginning at 19:45 on Tuesday night.
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Date:Saturday November 3 2012
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