Portsmouth vs Blackburn Preview
The league is so tight at the moment that should we let in yet another costly late goal then not only could we slip into the bottom half, but Pompey fans will be looking over their shoulder at the relegation battle unfolding at the bottom of the table.
Tony Adams has received a huge boost going into this game as Jermain Defoe has declared himself fit for the match and should at least be on the bench for the match. The same can also be said for Niko Kranjcar who has returned to training following an ankle injury.
However, it looks like Sol Campbell, Lassana Diarra and John Utaka will all still be missing with injury so Adams will once again have to do a patch up job on the side. Kanu picked up an injury on Thursday too so David Nugent could make his first start of the season.
Pompey are in quite good nick compared to Rovers as they have lost their last three games under Paul Ince and their fans are starting to become disgruntled as their team sit 19th in the league.
Martin Olsson is suspended after being sent off at Tottenham last week but Stephen Warnock is coming back from a ban himself and should take his place. Ince will also have to makedo with long term casualties David Dunn, Vince Grella and Steven Reid.
Despite lying in the relegation zone, it would be foolish to think that Rovers will be a pushover. We're not in the greatest of form ourselves and the likes of Roque Santa Cruz and Benni McCarthy will always pose a threat.
Unless we are three goals up before stoppage time tomorrow I will refuse to believe we'll have the game won. The conceding of late goals at home is getting beyond a joke now and if we could see out games then we would be fourth in the league and have one foot in the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup.
Blackburn also have a pretty good record at Fratton Park, having beaten us four times out of six matches since our promotion to the Premier League. So we'll have to play like we did against Milan if we are to have a very good chance of winning. But will the players and fans be up for it?
Incidentally, the FA Cup draw takes place at 2:15 tomorrow. So who will Pompey face first in the bid to defend the trophy?
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: David JAMES
RB: Glen JOHNSON
CB: Younes KABOUL
CB: Sylvain DISTIN
LB: Nadir BELHADJ
RM: Glen LITTLE
CM: Papa BOUBA DIOP
CM: Richard HUGHES
LM: Armand TRAORE
CF: Peter CROUCH
CF: David NUGENT
GK: Paul ROBINSON
RB: Andre OOJIER
CB: Chris SAMBA
CB: Ryan NELSEN
LB: Stephen WARNOCK
RM: Carlos VILLANEUVA
CM: Aaron MOKOENA
CM: Keith ANDREWS
LM: Morten GAMST PEDERSEN
CF: Benni McCARTHY
CF: Roque SANTA CRUZ
Last Time: Pompey 0 Blackburn Rovers 1
Roque Santa Cruz scored the only goal of a game that Pompey had to win to have any chance of qualifying for Europe via the league.
Lawro: Home Win (2-1)
My Prediction: I think the Milan game might have taken too much out of us and it wouldn't surprise me if we let concede yet another costly late goal. Hopefully I'm proved wrong!
Pompey 1 Blackburn Rovers 1