Newcastle are all out to avenge probably their worst performance of the season, the 4-1 hiding back in November.
Kevin Keegan has pointed the finger at Pompey’s away romp back at the start of the Winter, as the low point of a low season. 3 goals down in quarter of an hour and St.James’ was half empty, Pompey were in the middle of a fantastic away run and on their way to a first win in the North East since 1949, a year when we were Champions, maybe a year when we once again get some silverware?
Kevin Keegan has been giving out the plaudits to a man who almost pipped him to the Magpie post, Harry stayed loyal though, and has got a reward in the shape of a Wembley final.
Redknapp himself has been pointing to the fact that Owen, Viduka and Martins are all fit, this has certainly dragged them away from the drop zone, with 3 wins out of 3 pulling them well clear.
Pompey Team News:
Milan Baros is definitely out with a calf injury, Diarra looks like joining him with a dead leg, both injuries the legacy of a battle against West Brom.
Nugent got his hankered after start against West Ham, but with Defoe returning from St.Lucia will he hold on to his starting berth? Kanu replaced him in that match and is in line to start with Defoe tomorrow.
The right hand side of midfield is Pompey’s achilles heel at the moment, Diop looks ill at ease out there, so maybe Lauren will step in and cover for a while, at least it is now plain why Utaka always got in even when off the boil!
Player to watch: Kranjcar
Defoe would be the obvious choice, but Niko has been a bit quiet of late, but the last couple of games has seen him start to bubble back up to the boil, and as the only one of the 4 scorers at St.James’ to be fit, he is my one to watch.
Newcastle Team News:
Keegan looks like sticking with the 4-3-3 formation, all 3 strikers scored last week against Reading, Owen notching for the fourth game on the trot.
Joey Barton will face Mendes again after kicking him out of the game last year whilst at Man City, the Fratton faithful will no doubt remind of that if he plays.
Defensively, Taylor should have recovered to replace Edgar in the centre of defence, but Carr and Cacapa are out, the latter probably grateful after being torn apart on his debut against Pompey.
N’Zogbia is fit after sitting out the last 2, but may have to make do with warming the bench.
Player to watch: Viduka
Owen is banging them in again, but Viduka has always scored in flurries, when fit he is an asset, so Distin will have to again show Keegan and the Toon what they are missing.
Match Facts & Stats
The 4-1 win for Pompey in November is well documented, but is this a new Newcastle or another false dawn?
The Geordies will be optimistic of another win, but so were West Ham on Tuesday, will Defoe keep his run of scoring in every game at Fratton going? Place a guess here.
Svens Man City at Eastlands