Pompey vs Watford Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 17 November 2006
Without a win in two, it could be said that Portsmouth are experiencing a bit of a dip in form going by this seasons high standards. A win against struggling Watford will be just the cure as third place is up for grabs tommorow. Make no mistake about it though, the Hornets will be tough opposition.

On paper, this game has home win all over it. We have taken 14 points out of the 18 available at home. We have scored 12 and only conceded 3 goals in the 6 Premiership games we have hosted at Fratton Park. On the other hand Watford are yet to win away from home in the Premiership having only taken 2 points from a possible 18 on their travels. They have only scored 2 Premiership goals away from Vicarage Road and have shipped 17. So on the face of it, this should be an easy win for us.

But then we were supposed to beat Fulham weren't we? Things are never that simple on paper and we have a history of struggling against physical sides that play direct football (like Bolton and Leicester.) Tony Adams referred to Watford as "a throwback to the old Wimbledon days" and having seen them play quite a bit this season I can understand why.

That's not to say they don't have quality in their team. I really rate young Ashley Young (see what I did there?) and Hameur Bouazza looks a handy player too. Marlon King has also turned his career around but unfortunately for the yellows he's out injured for the rest of the season. Wily veterans Chris Powell and Malky Mackay are pushing for recalls in defence after Watford were mauled 4-0 by Chelsea last week and Matt Spring and Tamas Priskin are also tipped to make rare starts for the visitors tommorow.

For Pompey Benjani and Gary O'Neil are reportedly going to miss out because they can't recover from knocks in time for the game. Harry has hinted that Andy Cole might start but with his slight groin injury in midweek I'd expect LuaLua and Kanu to start a second consecutive game up front. David Thompson should get a chance to show what he can do and his type of character could well be needed in this game, as well as the added width he would give the team.

Will Kranjcar, Fernandes and Douala get on the bench this time round?

I'm sure that Watford will give us a tough game but there will be no excuses for not taking all three points against relegation strugglers when we're at home. We should have enough quality to win the game, especially if the last game is anything to go by. A repeat of the 3-0 scoreline the last time we met at home will do nicely, although Merse, Toddy and Burton won't be in the side to stick them in this time!

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