Avoid the Stag Trap
Premiership leaders (has a nice ring to it!) Pompey face the potential banana skin of a trip to Field Mill, home of Mansfield Town as we enter the Carling Cup in the Second Round.
Expect a host of changes from the team that turned out on Saturday with debuts, or first starts of the season handed to several players.
Harry Redknapp on team selection
"The lads who have played I will give them a rest, but the team I will be putting out will be a very good team."
"It is a team I think is full of quality, it's still probably got nine internationals in the team."
"We've got people like little Tommo, Koroman is a terrific player, then there's Fernandes and Kranjcar who are two outstanding young midfield players who haven't played yet."
"I think they are top, top drawer. One is a Croatian international, the other lad came from Benfica, so it gives me a chance to see them and I'm looking forward to it."
"They are two exciting players with different styles. I enjoy standing out there, being with them on the training ground. I'm looking forward to getting them in."
Harry Redknapp on Andrew Cole and Lomana LuaLua
"Andy's a top player. I'm looking forward to getting him fit. He's a goalscoring machine as he's shown all his career, so he'll play and LuaLua needs a game as well."
Mansfield Town Team News:
In a match viewed as an inconvenience originally by Stags manager Peter Shirtliff due to injury concerns to several first team regulars, with these including Richie Barker, Stephen Dawson, Jake Buxton, Alex John-Baptiste and Gareth Jelleyman, all of whom appear to have recovered from knocks and should feature, he is now looking forward to the tie.
Former Nottingham Forest defender Jon-Olav Hjelde will miss the game however, as will Simon Brown.
Player to watch: Richie Barker
The top scorer for Mansfield with four goals will be looking to impress, as being the scorer of goals that cause giant killings raise your profile, which can ultimately lead to a move to a higher level, not that I`m suggesting that this is what Barker would be after.
Pompey Team News:
Harry Redknapp will ring the changes, with David James, Glen Johnson, Sol Campbell, Pedro Mendes, Kanu and Benjani all certainly sitting out the tie, an unlikely to be the only ones rested.
It is possible that the entire team that faced against Charlton on Saturday could be rested, with a totally different starting XI taking to the field tonight. How often have we been able to say this is the past! How often have we had the quality to do this...
A debut will certainly be handed to Andrew Cole, who will partner Lomana LuaLua up front with Niko Kranjcar and Manuel Fernandes also likely to start, thus to also making eagerly awaited debuts. David Thompson, Noe Pamarot and Ognjen Koroman, who have featured for Pompey this season, Tommo getting the most game time will all play a part, most likely from the start.
The match should see also see most, if not all of the following, who have yet to play so far this season Dean Kiely, Andy O'Brien, Richard Duffy, Franck Songo'o and Roudolphe Douala feature at some point. Youngsters Marc Wilson (who featured in pre-season) and Carl Fordyce are also in the squad and could play a part.
Player to watch: Too many to choose from...
I think we are looking forward to seeing most, if not all of the players on show tonight, most of whom we`ve seen little or nothing of at all so far this season. Seeing Cole up top is something to look forward to, and I feel he will score. Kranjcar and Fernandes are two we also can`t wait to see.
Match Facts & Stats
* The League Cup is a competition neither have won in the past.
* Millwall knocked out Mansfield in the 3rd round 3-2 last season.
* Their best performance in the League Cup is a place in the Quarter Final in the 1975/76 season, losing 4-2 to Manchester City
* Mansfield have lost four of their last five matches.
* Pompey were knocked out in this round last season 3-2 against Gillingham ATE, despite twice leading. Svetoslav Todorov would also miss a penalty.
* Pompey`s best League Cup performance is also a place in the Quarter Finals on four occasions. 1960/61 losing to Rotherham 3-0, 1985/86 losing to Oxford 3-1, 1993/94 losing 1-0 to Manchester United in a replay and 2004/05 losing to Watford 3-0.
* Pompey have won four of their last five matches, drawing the other without conceding a goal.
Despite the changes in the line-up an early exit as suffered against Gillingham last season will not happen tonight. It won`t be an easy game, and we may well concede our first goal, maybe even goals of the season but we`ll also score. I think we could be looking at maybe more than one debut goal tonight. This is a competition that I REALLY think we could win this season, so if we can overcome tricky ties like this and utilise our squad to its full potential we have a great chance. PLAY UP POMPEY!!!
Monday 25-09-06, Bolton (h)