Pompey vs Charlton Preview

Last updated : 19 January 2007 By Jim Bonner
All week all we've been hearing and reading in the papers and on the internet is the build-up to Ben Thatcher's return to Fratton Park since his barbaric challenge on Pedro Mendes back in August last year. You may have forgotten, but there's a very important football match to be won tomorrow!

Pompey fans will be familiar with the position Charlton Athletic are in right now. They're 19th in the league, only taking one point all season from their travels. They haven't won an away league game since beating us at Fratton Park last season. They've had three managers at the helm this term. They have the worst defence in the Premiership. They've dropped more points than any other Premiership team this season and they have been knocked out of both cups by lower league opposition.

And it gets worse for them...

Top-scorer Darren Bent will be missing for the game. As will Andy Reid and Luke Young. Scott Carson has been one saving grace for the Addicks and I expect he will be a very busy man tomorrow.

Of course, we can't just turn up and expect to win tomorrow. If this was any other game then any sort of complacency would be frowned upon immediately to make sure we don't screw up one of our most winnable games of the season. However, Ben Thatcher's presence on the field will mean that all crowd attention is going to be focused on him.

It's very likely that Alan Pardew will select Thatcher for his starting eleven, meaning those who attend tomorrow's game will not have heard abuse at a football ground as loud as what waits in store for Thatcher after his complete act of thuggery. Personally, I hope Pompey respond to this reaction in the right way and make a mockery of him on the pitch. Just remember there are ten other players for our players to focus on too!

With Gary O'Neil suspended for this clash, it looks like Lauren is going to go straight into the first team in right midfield meaning Glen Johnson will keep his place at right back. Niko Kranjcar is a doubt but otherwise the only real selection dilemma is who to start up front with Benjani back in the mix. Sol Campbell is expected to take the captains armband for this game.

Either way, we should win this game. If we want to qualify for Europe then a draw is a bad result tomorrow in any circumstances. If Pompey win this we will hit the "magical" 40-points barrier and virtually secure another season in the Premiership. We should go out and win this one well, but as we know as relegation strugglers of previous seasons, it's not going to be straightforward.

Premiership Past: Pompey vs Charlton Athletic

03/04: Pompey 1 Charlton Athletic 2

Teddy Sheringham put Pompey a goal up in the first half and we were cruising. However Jonathan Fortune scored late in the second half and looked to have earned Charlton an improbable draw. It got worse though. Paolo Di Canio swung in a corner and Shaun Bartlett headed in during stoppage time to steal all three points for the Addicks.

04/05: Pompey 4 Charlton Athletic 2

Alain Perrin's first game in charge for Pompey couldn't have been more pulsating. Pompey raced into a 2-0 lead with goals from Yakubu and Steve Stone but straight after the second goal Jonathan Fortune headed in a Danny Murphy free kick to get Charlton back in the game. Murphy then scored himself right before half-time and the game looked like it was going to end 2-2 before Diomansy Kamara scored late on and then LuaLua sealed the victory at the death.

05/06: Pompey 1 Charlton Athletic 2

The home side grabbed an early lead as Dario Silva got his first goal for the club but after half-time Murphy put through Darren Ambrose to equalise and then Dennis Rommedahl smashed home a winner from a tight angle. This win was Charlton's last win away from The Valley in the Premiership!

Pundit Watch

Lawro: Home Win (2-0)
Sky Sports: Home Win (3-1)
Soccernet: Home Win