To re-iterate what I said in my last article, Fulham are no pushovers away from home this season having only lost once on the road (to Manchester United) and are almost certainly going to play a 4-5-1 formation against us to make sure they stay solid. The visit of the West London club will re-unite former team-mates with Sean Davis and Andy Cole having once played for Fulham and Wayne Routledge, on loan from Tottenham will line up against the side he was on loan with for the second part of last season.
This match will be the first time Antti Niemi has come to Fratton Park since the 4-1 thrashing of Southampton two seasons back. Pompey boo-boys Luis Boa Morte and Papa Bouba Diop should also start for the visitors but the dirty Michael Brown, who put in a horror challenge on Sean Davis last season will ironically miss out with an injury.
Pompey will definately be missing Glen Johnson and so Andy Griffin could well be recalled into the starting line up if Noe Pamarot fails to recover from his injury. The massive boost for us will be the return of Linvoy Primus and Sol Campbell to the centre of the defence, who were sorely missed against United last week.
Gary O'Neil is the other Pompey player who is a doubt for the game, but knowing how much he'll want to play it wouldn't surprise me to see him in the starting eleven come kick-off. Kanu should come back into the side to partner Benjani also.
This game is an important one for us. If we win we can go into third provided Bolton don't win at Sheffield United. Lose and we risk falling into the mid-table places after such a good start. We're at home and we're favourites but Fulham will be confident after their recent good results so it's going to take a big performance to dispatch the opposition tommorow.
We have a good record against Fulham with them having never beaten us at Fratton Park in the top flight. Let's hope that little stat doesn't change tommorow.
Premiership Past: Pompey vs Fulham
03/04: Pompey 1 Fulham 1
This was the result that 100% guaranteed us Premiership football for a second season. Yakubu capitalised on a Van Der Sar mistake to score in the second half but Brian McBride volleyed in an equaliser late on.
04/05: Pompey 4 Fulham 3
Probably the most entertaining Pompey game in the Premiership from a neutral point of view. This encounter had chances galore and plentty of incident with Moritz Volz getting involved in more than one tussle, through no real fault of his own!
Fratton Park was rocking after a cracker from Eyal Berkovic and two Yakubu goals had put us 3-0 up early on yet the score was 3-2 at the break after Andy Cole and Luis Boa Morte has pulled two back late in the half. Yakubu completed his hat-trick in the second half but then Bocanegra scored again for the visitors. Thankfully Pompey held on in a frantic game to give them their first win of the 04/05 season.
05/06: Pompey 1 Fulham 0
Gary O'Neil scored the only goal in a scrappy encounter on New Years Eve although the goal had a hint of handball about it. Not that we cared as we were desperate for points at the time and we deserved to win as Fulham rarely threatened.
Lawro: Home Win (2-0)
Sky Sports: Home Win (3-1)
SoccerNet: Home Win