Newcastle vs Pompey Preview
Pompey will go into the game in 4th place whilst Newcastle really need the points having only taken 5 points at home all season, struggling to score goals in the process. Remember that this game kicks of at the early time of 1:30 on Sunday!
Both sides have injury problems leading up to the game.
Newcastle have Damien Duff, Shola Ameobi and Craig Moore injured although Kieron Dyer, Obafemi Martins, Giuseppe Rossi, Nicky Butt, Stephen Carr and Emre should all return to the side which is bad news for us. You'd expect that Martins would be the favourite to score against us considering we were reportedly after him in the summer.
As for ourselves we have a major problem at left back. Matty Taylor is still ill whilst Dejan Stefanovic has been reported to play on despite an injury. However Meridian Tonight reported that the Pompey captain hasn't travelled and that he'll be having an operation on Monday. If Stefanovic doesn't make it, Andy Griffin might have to be recalled to play at left back against his former club. One player who looks likely to miss out against his former club is Andy Cole, who has an achilles injury.
There is some good news on the injury front though. Gary O'Neil and Benjani are both fit again and should return to the side. I think we have badly missed Benjani as you can guarantee he will not give any of the dodgy Newcastle defence an inch of space. Though Lomana LuaLua might be picked to start after starting the previous two games and the fact he'll have a point to prove against his former club.
If Dejan doesn't make it and Griffin doesn't come back it could be that we play 5 midfielders with three centre backs. This would allow O'Neil to play in the centre and it would give Thommo another chance on the right after a decent game against Watford.
Newcastle have a poor home record and if we can keep the home fans frustrated then mistakes might creep into their play and allow us to take advantage. The Toon are struggling in the league so they are there for the taking if we go and attack them. However this is St James' Park and we've never had the best of times there. With all of their players coming back from injury and our knack of ending teams' bad runs this season (Bolton, Tottenham..) we could easily lose this game.
But there's no better time than Sunday to add Newcastle to our list of beaten Premiership teams. I'd be delighted with a win, satisfied with a draw but a defeat to a "relegation battling" side would not be welcome.
Premiership Past: Newcastle United vs Pompey
03/04: Newcastle United 3 Pompey 0
Not the best of starts here as Gary Speed and an Alan Shearer penalty gave Newcastle a healthy 2-0 lead before the half hour. Shola Ameobi added a third in the second half to make sure Pompey went home empty-handed as Harry admitted we were outclassed on the day.
04/05: Newcastle United 1 Pompey 1
Pompey continued to show a resiliance away from home under Velimir Zajec as despite the home side taking the lead early on through Lee Bowyer, Steve Stone equalised on the half hour. We could have nicked all 3 points at the end but Gary O'Neil headed wide at the death when he should have scored.
05/06: Newcastle United 2 Pompey 0
A beleagured Portsmouth travelled to St James' Park to face a Newcastle side who had just sacked Greame Souness, so it was never the best time to play them. The Magpies predictably won as Charles N'Zogbia scored in the first half and Alan Shearer predictably broke the Geordie all-time goalscoring record against us.
Lawro: Draw (2-2)
Sky Sports: Home Win (1-0)
SoccerNet: Home Win
Matt Le Tissier: Away Win (0-1) (Shocking!!)