Portsmouth vs Bristol City Preview
By Jim Bonner
Updated Friday, 16th March 2012
Pompey enter the Last Chance Saloon.
Pompey take on Bristol City tomorrow knowing that anything but victory will see relegation from the Championship as a virtual certainty.
Stephen Henderson will be denied the chance to face his former club as his switch to West Ham was confirmed today, with Hayden Mullins having also departed to Reading.
Chris Maguire may make his first start for the club in a bid to kick-start Pompey's failing attack.
Sean Davis may also miss out on facing his former club as he is struggling with a thigh injury, but David James should set foot on the Fratton Park turf once again.
Simply put, this is a "do or die" match for Pompey in terms of survival on the pitch. Players have been sacrificed to keep the club alive and so if it does somehow continue to exist, I'm sure we'd all prefer that we'll be supporting a Championship team.
The situation is very similar to that of six years ago. Pompey were eight points adrift of safety and heading for certain relegation because of a scoring problem until that goal from Pedro Mendes.
I feel it is going to take something special like that if Pompey are to repeat the feat in 2012. You don't have to be a genius to work out that our side can't create chances and I can count the amount of meaningful chances we've had in the last four games on one hand.
So perhaps we should just go for it tomorrow? Bristol City are just as bad as us and don't have a multitude of excuses like us for their league position.
They have lost their best player in Nicky Maynard and can't defend for love nor money. Michael Appleton should throw caution to the wind, give Maguire his first start and play him alongside Futacs and Varney in a 4-3-3.
Playing it patient and cautious hasn't worked and has also been boring to watch. If we go down, I want us to go down fighting no matter how futile the end result may be come the summer.
Let's make sure Jamo is in for an uncomfortable return to Fratton Park and by hook or crook, we get the three points to prolong the hope for a little longer.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Jamie ASHDOWN
RB: Tal BEN-HAIM
CB: Jason PEARCE
CB: Ricardo ROCHA
LB: Greg HALFORD
RM: Kelvin ETUHU
CM: George THORNE
CM: Scott ALLAN
LM: Luke VARNEY
CF: Chris MAGUIRE
CF: Marko FUTACS
GK: David JAMES
RB: Louis CAREY
CB: Stephen McMANUS
CB: Liam FONTAINE
LB: Jamie McALLISTER
RM: Albert ADOMAH
CM: Khalifa CISSE
CM: Richard FOSTER
LM: Stephen PEARSON
CF: Brett PITMAN
CF: Jon STEAD
Last Time: Portsmouth 3 Bristol City 1 (Championship - 28/09/2010)
After a scrappy first half, the game came to life when John Utaka drilled the ball past David James but the Robins equalised just two minutes later as Stead poked in from two yards.
Aaron Mokoena restored the lead by heading in Liam Lawrence's cross and then Mullins scored in stoppage time to confirm the win.
We simply have to win but recent performances suggest that this will be a draw, and that won't be good enough for us.
Portsmouth 1 Bristol City 1