Pompey will be looking to bounce back from a defeat on tuesday evening, the 6 match run is over, time for a new one I feel.
After a shocking start to the season, ‘boro have steadily climbed away from the bottom 3, not safe yet of course, but Tony Mowbray has steadied the ship after replacing Gordon Strachan at the tail end of last year, form is a bit erratic with some good wins being countered by some dodgy defeats.
Pompey felt the sting of defeat for the first time since QPR away, the loss to Bristol however hid a decent performance, so often in our recent run it has been the other way round, Pompey at home has been a painful sight of late, the results are what counts of course but the football has been uninspiring for long spells, with safety just about assured and the play-offs still some way off, maybe Pompey can relax a bit and play with a freedom that has been missing at home for a while.
Pompey Team News:
As you were for Pompey, no new injury worries, Lawrence probably won’t feature again until after the international break, Ciftci is away with the fairies, sorry meant Turkey, but is not in any long term plans anyway after announcing his desire to leave.
Danny Webber is slowing returning to training with the first team, he will be lucky to get any playing time in before the season is up though.
Sonko looks likely to be the one who misses out from the loanees once more.
Player to watch: Ward
Who would of thought the local lad who was hardly in Cotterill’s thoughts 5 months ago would be such a key figure now?
Middlesbrough Team News:
Boro have few injury problems of late, Joe Bennett added to them by chipping a bone in his wrist on tuesday, he is hoping to have a lightweight cast approved though and should make the game.
McManus may make his long awaited return from injury to add some nous, while Arca is again absent with miscellaneous small problems.
Player to watch: Bates
Admired elsewhere, he has become captain this season and remains key to ‘boro’s ambitions, if they can hang onto him is another matter.
Match Facts & Stats
Pompey have unsurprisingly lost more than they have won against our North Eastern rivals, this encounter is a little closer with 26 wins to 31 defeats. The last two meetings have been draws with the last defeat at Fratton as recent as Christams 2007.
Place your guess here.