Portsmouth vs Derby Preview
By Jim Bonner
Updated Friday, 20th April 2012
Could this be Pompey's final ever game at Fratton Park?
Pompey take on Derby County tomorrow in what could be the club's last ever game at Fratton Park.
Chris Maguire can't play against his parent club and so Marko Futacs or Ashley Harris may replace him. Kelvin Etuhu may return to the team after missing out on Tuesday's win because of a family bereavement.
Luca Scapuzzi has returned to Man City of his own accord and so won't feature in the match, whilst Tal Ben-Haim still remains sidelined.
Nigel Clough will hand late fitness tests to Jamie Ward, Tom Naylor and Ben Davies as they are all suffering with minor injuries.
Given that there is a chance that this could be the last fixture to be played at Fratton Park by Portsmouth FC in its current guise, it's good to see that tickets are selling fast and the game is heading towards a sell out.
Before I continue, I must give Elaine Giles some much deserved praise. She retires tomorrow having helped many Pompey fans with ticketing problems down the years (of which there have been many) and I always found her a pleasure to deal with.
With the Park packed, Pompey's objective is clear: win or be relegated.
Of course, this may not matter if Bristol City do what is expected of them and beat Barnsley at home tomorrow. I surely cannot be the only Pompey fan who has put down a significant sum of money on City to win tomorrow, if only to soften the blow.
But for now we must keep on believeing that Mission: Impossible is still, well, possible. The Rams come to Fratton Park with little to play for much like Palace, but the only difference tomorrow is that we will be without the very impressive Chris Maguire.
That could mean Ashley Harris might start and whilst it would be interesting to see how the youngster may do when given some time to impress, surely the big physical presence of Futacs will be given the nod?
Also, if there was ever a time for Luke Varney to prove he hasn't been a Pompey flop, a game against his former club who ditched him for being dire can surely be no better motivation?
Derby aren't in great form so I believe that we can and will win this through sheer desire and a bit of luck which seems to have turned in our favour in the last two matches.
However, the more important issue will be what happens at Ashton Gate and as on Tuesday night, there will be plenty of nervous glances at mobile phones and the Milton End scoreboard tomorrow.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Jamie ASHDOWN
RB: Joel WARD
CB: Jason PEARCE
CB: Ricardo ROCHA
LB: Karim REKIK
CM: Greg HALFORD
CM: Scott ALLAN
CM: David NORRIS
RWF: Dave KITSON
LWF: Luke VARNEY
CF: Marko FUTACS
GK: Frank FIELDING
RB: John BRAYFORD
CB: Jake BUXTON
CB: Jason SHACKELL
LB: Gareth ROBERTS
RM: Ben DAVIES
CM: Jeff HENDRICK
CM: Craig BRYSON
LM: Jamie WARD
CF: Theo ROBINSON
CF: Steve DAVIES
Last Time: Portsmouth 1 Derby County 1 (Championship - 05/02/2011)
Derby took the lead after Steve Davies converted Tomasz Cwyka's cross and it looked like they'd leave Fratton Park with the until David Nugent scored with a beautiful volley on the outside of the box in the 90th minute to rescue a point for Pompey.
I think tomorrow's game will be similar to Tuesday's. We'll edge a tight encounter but I can only see relegation confirmed when Bristol City surely defeat woeful Barnsley.
Portsmouth 2 Derby County 1
|19 Apr 2012|
|The Opposition View: Derby County|
|Scapuzzi Returns To City|
|18 Apr 2012|
|The Relegation Battle Page|
|17 Apr 2012|
|Palace Win Keeps Pompey Alive|
|Team lineups: Portsmouth v Crystal Palace 17 Apr 2012|
|16 Apr 2012|
|Portsmouth vs Crystal Palace Preview|
|14 Apr 2012|
|Team lineups: Doncaster Rovers v Portsmouth 14 Apr 2012|