Carling Cup Round 3 Preview

Pompey face the long journey to St James' Park tommorow evening as they take on Newcastle United for a place in Round 4 of the Carling Cup.

Harry has said there'll be changes to the side that lost at Chelsea as he looks to make the league his priority with the visit of Reading to Fratton Park this weekend. Ognjen Koroman, Andy O'Brien, Rodolph Douala and other fringe players are likely to start with Lomana LuaLua and Andy Cole also facing up to their former clubs. Therefore key players like David James, Sol Campbell and Benjani are probably going to be rested.

Newcastle have had a torrid time domestically having only picked up 7 points from 9 games with their defence coming in for much criticism. However we only have to look to last season to remind ourselves that this won't be an easy tie. The last time we went to Newcastle the Magpies were in turmoil then after sacking Greame Souness yet still beat us 2-0 with Alan Shearer breaking the all-time Geordie goalscoring record and although it can be argued we're a lot stronger now, Newcastle don't lose many at home so our fringe players have a lot to prove tommorow.

The home side are going to hand Manchester United loanee Giuseppe Rossi his first start of the season and Celestine Babayaro is also in line to return to what is a shaky Newcastle defence. Emre and Antoine Sibierski are injured however.

If we're going to win this game we need to take advantage of the comical defending of Titus Bramble and co. whilst making sure the likes of Damien Duff and Obafemi Martins don't get the space to do any damage. If we get a goal early on then it's likely the demanding Newcastle fans will begin to turn on their own side. I forsee plenty of goals in this game as I can't see our makeshift defence keeping a clean sheet and Newcastle's defence are just plain terrible anyway.

The cup should be a priority for a club like Portsmouth and I'm disappointed that he hasn't gone with a full strength side in what will be a tough game. I understand that we want to reach 40 points as soon as possible but I'm sure I'm not the only Pompey fan who would love to see us in a cup final having not been in one since 1939.

Tommorow we will see just how seriously we're taking this competition.