Portsmouth vs Birmingham Preview
By Jim Bonner
Updated Monday, 19th March 2012
The fight isn't quite over yet...
After the spirited but ultimately disappointing draw with Bristol City on Saturday, Pompey will want to beat Birmingham tomorrow evening to keep the faintest of survival hopes alive.
Michael Appleton is likely to stick with the same side that were held by Bristol City although Marko Futacs will be pushing for a recall and Dave Kitson may well feature on the bench.
Erik Huseklepp is ineligible to play for Birmingham against his parent club. Jordan Mutch serves the last of his three match ban but full back David Murphy is fit again.
There will be a minute's applause before the game tomorrow for former Pompey player Brian Bromley who sadly passed away last week and for former Birmingham player Fabrice Muamba whose condition is now improving so much now that he is able to breathe on his own and talk.
This game may be more important than some fans think as although the vast majority of us have given up hope of Championship survival, the players who remain at the club haven't and IF they can beat Birmingham tomorrow night, it might have an impact on the season.
A win tomorrow would give Appy food for thought if Trevor Birch were to approach him and ask if he would be willing to let key players move before Thursday's loan window deadline.
Of course, the manager may not have a say at all but three points tomorrow may convince him that he could keep the club in the Championship if he could keep the players he has, which would give Pompey almost an extra milion pounds in revenue next season.
Should Pompey fail to win, the writing would be well and truly on the wall and I think you would see our best players loaned out simply to guarantee to keep the club alive at the cost of probably failing to win another game all season.
The fans may well believe we're doomed already as there are still 9,000 tickets available for the game at the time of writing. It will take something special to get us out of this mess so if it happens, it could well be one of those "I was there" moments.
However, in reality Pompey are up against a far better side than they were on Saturday and will have their work cut out for them.
Keeping Nikola Zigic and Marlon King quiet will be extremely difficult whilst it's hard to see how our blunt attack is going to be able to break down one of the best defences in the division.
But there is still a glimmer of hope for now...
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Jamie ASHDOWN
RB: Greg HALFORD
CB: Jason PEARCE
CB: Ricardo ROCHA
LB: Tal BEN-HAIM
RM: Joel WARD
CM: George THORNE
CM: David NORRIS
LM: Scott ALLAN
CF: Luke VARNEY
CF: Chris MAGUIRE
GK: Boaz MYHILL
RB: Peter RAMAGE
CB: Stephen CALDWELL
CB: Curtis DAVIES
LB: David MURPHY
RM: Chris BURKE
CM: Keith FAHEY
CM: Guirane N'DAW
LM: Andros TOWNSEND
CF: Nikola ZIGIC
CF: Marlon KING
Last Time: Portsmouth 1 Birmingham City 2 (Premier League - 09/03/2010)
A double from Cameron Jerome saw Pompey lose to the Brummies despite Kanu heading in the latest of consolation goals. Not that we cared, as we had beaten the same side just three days earlier to book our place in the semi-final of the FA Cup.
I can see our full backs struggling with Birmingham's wingers and I expect they'll put more than a couple of crosses on Zigic's head. If we can replicate the second half performance against Bristol tomorrow then we've got a chance but I won't be expecting anything.
Portsmouth 0 Birmingham City 2
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