Pompey and Wigan both need points for entirely different reasons, almost a reverse of last season where Wigan were chasing a European spot, and Pompey were fighting the sprectre of relegation.
‘The moaners are idiots’ Harry Redknapp rightly pointed to the few fans who are criticising Pompey’s recent form as short sighted, expectation levels have risen dramatically since the start of the season, Pompey have not left the top six all season and the lure of Europe has lingered tantalising in front of success starved fans for two thirds of a remarkable season. Pompey’s progress in the last twelve months is reminiscent of our promotion season, dross for years and a lift in form that only Melchester Rovers have matched in years gone by, one difference though is Pompey although theatrical like at times off the field, are not gracing the pages of ‘Roy of the Rovers’ but gracing the hallowed ground of the Premiership, and performing they are, whatever Match of the Day may say.
Wigan Team News:
Wigan have a casualty list to match Holby city, De Zeeuw has been missing since the turn of the year, Hall Scharner now Heskey are absent and Henri Camara has only just started training again
Player to watch: Unsworth
Big Dave will be out to prove he can still cut it at the top level, and to show Pompey were wrong to let him go, and you know what happens when he takes a penalty.
Pompey Team News:
Traore has joined the crocked left-back club, but Noe Pamarot has made a timely recovery and could slot straight back in. O’Neil will be hoping to cling on to his central midfield berth, although Davis and Kranjcar will be pushing hard for a starting place, the latter hoping to kick on from a promising display at Old Trafford.
Up front it looks like two from three again, with Andy Cole hoping to displace either Kanu or Benjani, both of whom fired blanks mid-week, Lua will probably again be on the bench.
Player to watch: Douala
Doubtful if he will be seen until some time in the second half, but has really looked lively in his last couple of apperances from the bench and injected some real pace down the wing.
Match Facts & Stats
Last season was the safety clincher, this season it will hopefully be the kick-on Pompey need to get their Euro dream back on track
Graham Poll, ‘more an M.C then referee’
Pompey have a habit of ending losing streaks, not our own but those of others, the longer Wigan don’t score, the more likely we will.
Manchester City at Fratton (cue Mendes!)