Bristol City vs Portsmouth Preview
Liam Lawrence remains sidelined and Hayden Mullins is a doubt once again as his calf problem has caused some aggrevation. Joel Ward should continue to play despite his calf problem. David Cotterill and David James will play against their former club.
Spurs loanee Stephen Caulker suffered an injury in City's 4-1 win at Coventry on Saturday and so is doubtful for this match. Nicky Maynard will continue to lead the attack having scored in the last three games.
After languishing in the bottom section of the Championship earlier in the season, Bristol City now look a good bet for safety after securing three straight wins, meaning Pompey's task of equalling their club record of seven straight wins, set in the 2002/2003 winning season, will be a difficult one.
Whereas Pompey's excellent run has been down to keeping clean sheets and edging out narrow wins, City have been scoring regularly in their recent run of form with Nicky Maynard and Marvin Elliott finding the net regularly.
Saturday's performance against Sheffield United was less than convincing and it could be that playing so many games in a short space of time is going to get Steve Cotterill's small squad eventually.
In fact, the only matches in our winning streak that have been convincing were the 2-0 win at Doncaster and the 1-0 victory against Palace which we should have won by more.
Not that we should be focusing on the negatives too much. David Nugent is probably playing his best football since coming to Portsmouth and will always be a threat whilst David Cotterill will want to prove himself against the club where he made his name.
The form of Dave Kitson still worries me and he has taken a fair bit of stick from the fans recently. I think that's slightly unfair as he is playing in a system that doesn't suit his style of play and he often lacks an "out ball" when he has to hold it up.
I think Pompey will play better than they did on Saturday but I doubt Jamie Ashdown will keep his seventh consecutive clean sheet as we have been riding our luck recently and it has to run out sometime, especially when the opposition have one of the best strikers in the division.
That's not to say we won't win, though. We have players to cause their porous defence problems and hopefully David James will drop a clanger or two tomorrow evening!
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: David JAMES
RB: Liam FONTAINE
CB: Lewin NYATANGA
CB: Damion STEWART
LB: Jordan SPENCE
RM: Albert ADOMAH
CM: Marvin ELLIOTT
CM: Khalifa CISSE
LM: Martyn WOOLFORD
CF: Nicky MAYNARD
CF: Brett PITMAN
GK: Jamie ASHDOWN
RB: Ritchie DE LAET
CB: Greg HALFORD
CB: Ricardo ROCHA
LB: Hermann HREIDARSSON
DM: Jonathan HOGG
DM: Hayden MULLINS
RM: David COTTERILL
CM: Joel WARD
LM: David NUGENT
CF: Dave KITSON
Last Time: Bristol City 0 Portsmouth 2 (FA Cup Third Round Replay - 13/01/2009)
Peter Crouch got away with a handball in the Bristol City box before striking from close range to give the cup holders the lead. Niko Kranjcar slid in Nadir Belhadj's cross late on to make the game safe as David James also saved Nicky Maynard's penalty.
Unlike some of Pompey's recent games, I think this will be an entertaining encounter with goals at both ends. A draw isn't much use if the pie-in-the-sky dreams of the play-offs are to continue, so I'm going for Pompey to win and Nugent to bag the winner.
Bristol City 1 Portsmouth 2