Barnsley vs Portsmouth Preview
Carl Dickinson serves the first of his three game suspension but Steve Cotterill has said that Hermann Hreidarsson is not yet ready to return. Therefore Greg Halford, Ricardo Rocha or Joel Ward will fill in at left back.
Liam Lawrence returns to what is otherwise a first choice eleven for Pompey.
Barnsley boss Mark Robins is set to name an unchanged line up following two away wins on the spin, so forwards Andy Gray (who has been linked with a reunion with his former manager at Pompey) and Paul Hayes will have to settle for places on the bench.
This should be a tricky fixture after Barnsley recently halted their slide towards the relegation zone with a 3-1 win at Ipswich and a 2-1 success at Preston. The Tykes now currently lie below Pompey in the Championship table on goal difference.
Some of that recent from can be attributed to the loan signing of Garry O'Connor from Birmingham who is a good finisher and therefore a very potent striker at this level.
But Mark Robins also has his team playing good football and it has plenty of which can trouble any defence, let alone a rearguard as porous as Pompey's. On the other hand, Barnsley's backline is just as brittle and there should be a lot of chances created by both teams tomorrow.
I'm hoping that Steve Cotterill resists the temptation of playing Rocha at left back and keeps him in the centre alongside Mokoena, leaving Sonko out altogether.
Halford should be given the role at left back over Ward simply because he's more experienced and should be able to adjust better. The full backs are still a worry though as many players have got through our defence via the wings and I expect Jim O'Brien and Adam Hammill to pose them some problems.
As for our own style of play, I can only hope that Steve hasn't opted to play cautious, direct football that will not only bore the crowd, but reduce how effective we are going forward.
I still maintain that playing the ball into Kitson's feet is better than lumping it to him, whilst Nugent is more effective when he can play on the shoulder of the last defender, rather than making him chase through balls.
With both teams having a knack for scoring (and conceding) plenty of goals, I expect this to be a very entertaining game which will be won by whichever team makes the least defensive errors.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Luke STEELE
RB: Keiran TRIPPIER
CB: Jason SHACKELL
CB: Stephen FOSTER
LB: Bobby HASSELL
RM: Adam HAMMILL
CM: Nathan DOYLE
CM: Hugo COLACE
LM: Jim O'BRIEN
CF: Goran LOUVRE
CF: Garry O'CONNOR
GK: Jamie ASHDOWN
RB: Joel WARD
CB: Ricardo ROCHA
CB: Aaron MOKOENA
LB: Greg HALFORD
RM: Liam LAWRENCE
CM: Hayden MULLINS
CM: Michael BROWN
LM: John UTAKA
CF: David NUGENT
CF: Dave KITSON
Last Time: Barnsley 1 Portsmouth 4 (Division One - 28/09/2001)
Pompey recorded their first victory at Oakwell since 1989 in some fashion. Darren Barnard gave the Tykes an early lead with a penalty but the visitors led at the interval thanks to goals from Jamie Vincent and Peter Crouch.
Lee Bradbury then scored from the spot and added another after the break to finish the rout. Pompey ended the day in 5th but went on to finish 17th whilst Barnsley were relegated, finishing 23rd.
An open, entertaining game with some comical defending and the points shared.
Barnsley 2 Portsmouth 2