Portsmouth vs Burnley Preview

The managers of both clubs will take on their former employers at Fratton Park tomorrow with Pompey looking for their first win in seven games.

Team News

Aaron Mokoena and Dave Kitson are still suspended so it's likely that Steve Cotterill will stick with the same team that started against Leeds if Ritchie De Laet isn't injured.

Clarke Carlisle is a doubt after suffering a knock at Scunthorpe on Saturday with Andre Bikey ready to replace him if he fails to declare himself fit.

The Match

After Leeds pegged us back twice it's now seven games without a win for Pompey, though it would still take another twelve games without victory to match Steve Cotterill's winless run at the club he faces tomorrow.

Eddie Howe spent two years at Fratton Park, only making two appearances for Pompey before joining Bournemouth and working wonders with his boyhood club as a manager, leading to his appointment at Burnley who were floundering under previous manager Brian Laws.

This match is difficult to preview as there is no way of predicting how Burnley will play under their new boss. It's slightly grating that the original fixture fell foul of the weather as Pompey had just come off the back of a superb win at Swansea whilst Burnley were without a win away from home.

Desppite this, I'm still confident we can pick up our first home win since October as Burnley's feeble away record hasn't improved much since the original postponement with just the one victory away from Turf Moor all season (at Barnsley).

Their biggest weakness, like ours, seems to be in defence. Their centre backs aren't the quickest and the full backs prefer to go forward so I feel that we will score at least twice given our excellent scoring record at home.

Whether we can hold onto the lead, unlike in the previous game, is another matter as Burnley are the comeback kings of the Championship, having gained 19 points from a losing position in matches this season.

You don't need me to state how important this game is. Win, and a nice 8 point cushion opens up between Pompey and the bottom three. Lose, and the relegation battle is well and truly on.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: Jamie ASHDOWN

RB: Ritchie DE LAET
CB: Greg HALFORD
CB: Ibrahima SONKO
LB: Carl DICKINSON

RM: Liam LAWRENCE
CM: Joel WARD
CM: Hayden MULLINS
LM: John UTAKA

AM: KANU

CF: David NUGENT

Burnley

GK: Lee GRANT

RB: Tyrone MEARS
CB: Andre BIKEY
CB: Michael DUFF
LB: Danny FOX

RM: Chris EAGLES
CM: Dean MARNEY
CM: Jack CORK
CM: Wade ELLIOT
LM: Jay RODRIGUEZ

CF: Chris IWELUMO

Last Time: Portsmouth 2 Burnley 0 (Premier League - 05/12/2009)

After a dire first half in which Aruna Dindane missed a penalty, Pompey laboured to victory after Hermann Hreidarsson struck in the second half and Dindane headed in Jamie O'Hara's cross with five minutes to go to seal Avram Grant's first win in charge.

My Prediction

I have been more accurate with my predictions this season than in previous seasons, so put your money on Pompey to win this one 2-1 with Nugent to score the winner.

Portsmouth 2 Burnley 1