Portsmouth vs Hull Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 21 November 2008
The surprise winners of the 2008 FA Cup and the side that have remarkably climbed the league pyramid in five years meet for a Fratton Park showdown tomorrow.

At the start of the campaign if you said to me that by the time we play the Tigers in November we'd have to beat them by two goals to jump them in the table then I would be thinking that we'd have been bottom of the league.

I think it's safe to say that nobody expected Hull City to be doing as well as they have been. Though there is an argument that the fixtures had fallen kindly to them at the start of the season there can be no denying that they deserve to be sixth in the table, especially after winning at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

The fairytale is currently stuttering though as Phil Brown's men haven't won in four games, losing three of them prior to their 2-2 draw with Manchester City last Sunday. That shouldn't really matter though as the last time we played a team who hadn't won in four games at Fratton Park, we lost.

We're arguably facing a better team than Wigan too. Hull work extremely hard, have an excellent team spirit and their players have stepped up their game for the Premier League. It's these sorts of teams that have given Pompey problems recently as we've struggled to break them down.

Our cause isn't helped by Sol Campbell, Lassana Diarra and Niko Kranjcar all missing out through injury. Campbell's loss can be covered by Younes Kaboul who was outstanding last week but Diarra and Kranjcar are much harder to replace.

So I think it's time for Armand Traore and possibly John Utaka to step up and show the fans what they can do. We've been far too reliant on the front two for goals so it's about time our wingers showed how deadly they can be.

The core of Hull's success has been a midfield three with ex-Pompey trialist Geovanni playing his role just behind the front two of Marlon King and Daniel Cousin who are both physical and powerful forwards. Michael Turner and Kamil Zayatte have also been very impressive in their debut top flight season.

Incidentally, the last time Hull played Portsmouth at Fratton Park was on New Year's Day 1991. Pompey won 5-1 that day so a repeat of that scoreline would be very welcome!

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: David JAMES

RB: Glen JOHNSON
CB: Younes KABOUL
CB: Sylvain DISTIN
LB: Noe PAMAROT

RM: Nadir BELHADJ
CM: Papa BOUBA DIOP
CM: Sean DAVIS
LM: Armand TRAORE

CF: Jermain DEFOE
CF: Peter CROUCH

Hull

GK: Boaz MYHILL

RB: Sam RICKETTS
CB: Michael TURNER
CB: Kamil ZAYATTE
LB: Paul McSHANE

CM: Ian ASHBEE
CM: George BOATENG
CM: Dean MARNEY

AM: GEOVANNI

CF: Marlon KING
CF: Daniel COUSIN

Pundit Watch

Lawro: Home Win (1-0)
Sky Sports: Home Win (2-1)
Soccernet: Draw
Footy-Mad: Away Win

My Prediction: I may regret this but I think this game could be the turning point of our season. A good performance all round and a few goals will do me nicely, but then Hull have made a habit of making pundits eat their words...

Pompey 3 Hull City 1

Portsmouth Match Reports


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