Pompey vs Derby Preview

After a truly pathetic performance last weekend the players have the ultimate chance to redeem themselves against basement club Derby at Fratton Park tomorrow.

There are simply no excuses for not winning this game. Derby County are possibly the worst ever side to grace the Premier League and even with our depleted squad and woeful home record, we should still be able to beat them.

Derby's problem since Paul Jewell took over is that they've been shipping late goals that have cost them so many points. That means there should be no reason to panic if the score is still 0-0 with five minutes to go.

Not that a narrow win will do much to appease the Pompey fans. Only a rout and/or a dominant performance against such an awful team will put the smiles back on the faces of Pompey fans after Sunday's disgrace at Sunderland.

Pompey are likely to field the same side that were so awful at the Stadium of Light with one notable change as Lassana Diarra should start in place of Richard Hughes.

Glen Johnson should come back into the team and Sean Davis could play too after a recovery from injury, which would see Arnold Mvuemba drop to the bench.

Derby have injuries to full backs Tyrone Mears and Jay McEveley, Claude Davis is suspended but Kenny Miller could be restored to the attack whilst Fratton flop Laurent Robert is sure of a "warm" welcome back to Pompey after his brief stay at the club.

As I said before, we simply have to win this game not just for the sake of our European challenge but also for avoiding the sheer embarrassment of not being able to beat one of the Premier League's worst ever teams.

The last time the teams met at Fratton Park Pompey raced into a three goal lead only for Derby to pull two back but then Merson et al turned on the style to score another three times.

Yakubu and Todorov both got two that day with Paul Merson and Matty Taylor getting the other two. Lee Morris and Georgie Kinkladze replied for the Rams.

How times have changed....

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: David JAMES

RB: Glen JOHNSON
CB: Sol CAMPBELL
CB: Sylvain DISTIN
LB: Hermann HREIDARSSON

CM: Sean DAVIS
CM: Lassana DIARRA
CM: Pedro MENDES

RWF: BENJANI
LWF: Niko KRANJCAR
CF: David NUGENT

Bench: Asmir BEGOVIC, Noe PAMAROT, LAUREN, Arnold MVUEMBA, Marc WILSON

Derby

GK: Lewis PRICE

RB: Danny MILLS
CB: Michael JOHNSON
CB: Darren MOORE
LB: Marc EDWORTHY

RM: Giles BARNES
CM: Robbie SAVAGE
CM: Hossam GHALY
LM: Eddie LEWIS

CF: Emanuel VILLA
CF: Kenny MILLER

Bench: Ben HINCHCLIFFE, Andy TODD, Craig FAGAN, Stephen PEARSON, Robert EARNSHAW

Pundit Watch

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

My Prediction: Home Win (1-0)