Hull vs Portsmouth Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 23 October 2009
Pompey travel to Humberside tomorrow for a high pressure clash with fellow Premier League strugglers Hull City and defeat for either side would be seen as catastrophic.

Team News

Under pressure manager Phil Brown will give Jimmy Bullard his first start in nine months as he looks to give his team some inspiration after a damaging 2-0 loss to Fulham last Monday.

Jamie O'Hara will return to the side after being unable to feature against parent club Tottenham and will take the place of Michael Brown who is suspended following his red card last Saturday.

The rest of the team should be the same as the eleven that started against Spurs, as Hermann Hreidarsson, Papa Bouba Diop and Richard Hughes aren't ready to return yet.

The Match

Once again, it looks like someone is trying to stir up trouble off the pitch as Ali Al-Faraj's lawyer Mark Jacobs has denied that Pompey's new owner was quoted to have said that he only sees the club as a short term investment.

But all focus should turn to Saturday and I believe that we're as good as relegated if we lose to Hull. I firmly believe that any team that finishes below the Tigers will go down and a defeat will see Pompey 7 points adrift of the opposition and that is a huge gap to claw back for a team that would have lost 9 out of 10 games.

That's not to say I believe we'll lose, though. In fact, I think we're due a win after some recent performances have deserved more than we have got and I've not been impressed by Hull this season, especially against Fulham where they looked like a team that isn't good enough for the top flight.

However, Hull have won their last two home games against fellow strugglers Bolton and Wigan and will be buoyed by the return of Bullard who galvanised Fulham to safety when he was with them. I'm also slightly worried about the prospect of Stephen Hunt up against Ben-Haim after Lennon constantly got the better of him last weekend.

But we've been playing well and I think tomorrow will be the day that Tommy Smith and Aruna Dindane click with at least one of them finding the back of the net. With K.P Boateng playing some of his best football and Jamie O'Hara's ability to whip in some dangerous crosses I think we have enough to take advantage of Hull's sub-par defence.

Like the last time we visited the KC, I don't expect this to be pretty but I do expect it to be gritty with plenty of nervous performances with both managers feeling the pressure. In fact, a loss for either boss tomorrow could see them pick up their P45 on Monday morning.

Let's hope that isn't Paul Hart, because defeat is unthinkable tomorrow, even at this early stage of the season.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Hull

GK: Boaz MYHILL

RB: Paul McSHANE
CB: Ibrahima SONKO
CB: Kamil ZAYATTE
LB: Andy DAWSON

RM: Stephen HUNT
CM: GEOVANNI
CM: Nick BARMBY
LM: Kevin KILBANE

CF: Jan VENEGOOR OF HESSELINK
CF: Kamel GHILAS

Pompey

GK: David JAMES

RB: Steve FINNAN
CB: Younes KABOUL
CB: Marc WILSON
LB: Tal BEN-HAIM

DM: Aaron MOKOENA
CM: Jamie O'HARA
CM: Hassan YEBDA
AM: Kevin-Prince BOATENG

CF: Tommy SMITH
CF: Aruna DINDANE

Last Time: Hull City 0 Portsmouth 0

The only noteworthy incident in this dire game was when Glen Johnson was sent off for a second bookable offence, though Pompey could have nicked it at the death when Hermann Hreidarsson hit the post.

Pundit Watch

Lawro: Home Win (1-0)
Sky Sports: Home Win (1-2)
Soccernet: Draw

My Predicition: Despite oue league position I think we're better than Hull and the performances have been better than what our results show. They're a poor side and although Bullard and Hunt worry me, I think we have enough to come away with a vital win.

Hull City 1 Portsmouth 2

Portsmouth Match Reports


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