Portsmouth vs Birmingham Preview

Last updated : 16 September 2005 By Keith Allman

If you were a betting man then you'd have to say that this is one of the best chances we have to pick up our first three points at home this season. Off the back of a great win and (contrary to what Match Of The Day may have tried to make you believe) a great performance at Everton, the team should now be full of confidence. We face a Birmingham team who are only one position above us who have had an indifferent time of it this season and, what's more, have got a couple of injuries too. Easy peasy, right?

Er, not really.

If there's one thing Pompey seem to be really bad at it's winning when we might just be construed as "favourites". When no-one expects us to, when it's backs against the wall and when everything seems to point at a hefty defeat, that's when we're usually at our best. When we're at home against a team we should supposedly be taking points off we're bobbins and do our best to throw it away. However, given how every pundit still has us down for a draw or defeat, perhaps we're not as much of favourites as I'd like to think.

Our record against Birmingham since promotion isn't all that bad; a win, a defeat and a couple of draws. Brum this season haven't been too bad on the road - which is just as well because they've lost every game at St Andrews. Their four points have come from a draw at Fulham and a win at West Brom, so they've got an unbeaten away record to defend, but they won't be help by aforementioned injury problems - Dunn, Nafti and Clement are all definitely out whilst Heskey, Melchiot and Jarosik are in a race to be fit. Chances are that even if they do play they won't be 100% anyway so either way it makes our life a little bit easier. (But still, keeping up with the theme of "games you'd expect us to win", I do recall last New Year when Norwich had a couple of 17 year old's playing, were down to 10 men for eighty minutes and still drew. Look, I don't like mentioning it any more than you like hearing about it, but I just want to keep our feet on the ground here).

Still, look out for an ex-Pompey targets up front. Forssell was an off-again off-again transfer this summer, so wait for lots of shaking heads and "BOOOO! I TOLD YOU WE SHOULD'VE SIGNED HIM" if he should happen to score.

I really reckon this one is up for grabs, especially with Alain's pre-match talk about "attack, attack, attack". If there's one thing I'm sure we'd all love to see every so often is us just going out and bombarding the opposition, and we've certainly got the players to do it. My only concern is that we really have lacked a poacher/finisher so far this season and haven't done ourselves any favour in that respect - particularly at West Brom and against Villa when we created plenty of chances but just couldn't convert them. Hopefully this is where Silva comes in to play and of course we still have Collins getting fit - people give him a lot of unfair stick but remember, he was supposedly overweight and unfit when he played against Spurs and he came as close to scoring as anyone else that day.

Put us down for a 3-1. An early goal and I can see Diao scoring as well, just to "stick it" to the Birmingham fans who recently voted him as one of their worst ever signings. If we were to win then the table has a much nicer look about it than it did a couple of weeks ago.