Date: 2nd December 2006 at 2:06am
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POMPEY AND VILLA TO KEEP ON SURPRISING?

Villa have performed similarly to Pompey so far this season, surprising many with a fine start after finishing just off the relegation spots last term. This time round both teams are setting the pace in the euro running, early days, but we are both still up there with everyone waiting for the bubble to burst and the slide to begin.

Pompey will be buoyed by their point at Anfield, a first point on the road for well over a month, while Villa slipped up at home to Manchester City, both games went against current form, so Pompey will definitely be the happier campers.

I must admit I think this will be Pompey’s biggest test at home so far this season, Petrov and Barry are both players that were very close to coming through the Fratton doors in the summer, and both are proving why Harry Redknapp was so keen to sign them by starting the season in fine form.

Agbonlahor will carry the main threat up-front with another alleged one time Pompey target Milan Baros hoping to displace Angel in partnership.

There are rumours coming out of Fratton Park that Glen Johnson could be pushing for the first team squad again, although I feel Saturday may come too soon.

Pompey’s injury list didn’t seem to lengthen too much on Wednesday, Pedro Mendes should recover from his knock and Sean Davis has recovered from his groin injury, so we are close to full strength again although several players may be flagging a bit from the mid-week game.

Pompey will definitely be a bit more ambitious than the two games on the road, and if we can score first I think another three points could well be on the way again at fortress Fratton!

Play up Pompey
Paul