Portsmouth vs Hull Preview
By Jim Bonner
Updated Monday, 26th March 2012
No more room for error as Tigers come to Fratton Park.
Should Pompey fail to beat Hull City tomorrow then even the most optimistic fan will have to accept relegation from the Championship.
After an abject performance, Michael Appleton must decide if Man City duo Karim Rekik and Luca Scaouzzi should start, with Kelvin Etuhu and Marko Futacs also hoping to replace those who were especially poor on Saturday.
The good news is that influential Hull midfielder Robert Koren is sidelined with a hamstring injury but Aaron McLean and Mark Cullen may start after coming off the bench against Leicester.
Many people have accepted defeat in Pompey's fight against relegation this season but tommorow's match does offer a glimmer of hope as it is our game in hand against the other strugglers.
A win would see Portsmouth climb above Doncaster in the table and will be three points behind Bristol City in 21st, giving the club a fighting chance of Championship survival. Anything less than victory and it really will be game over.
Nick Barmby's men have fallen off the boil recently by losing their last two games. However, they still remain just two points outside the play-off places and boast the meanest defence in the division. It might take another "Birmingham-esque" half of football to put the Tigers to the sword tomorrow night.
For those who do turn up tomorrow, let's create another atmosphere like last week against the Brummies and hopefully the players can respond and deliver.
If they repeat the performance at Coventry, we may as well all give up now but I'm backing our boys to take this chance, however small, of salvation.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Jamie ASHDOWN
RB: Greg HALFORD
CB: Jason PEARCE
CB: Ricardo ROCHA
LB: Tal BEN-HAIM
RM: Kelvin ETUHU
CM: George THORNE
CM: David NORRIS
LM: Scott ALLAN
CF: Chris MAGUIRE
CF: Luke VARNEY
GK: Vito MANNONE
RB: Andy DAWSON
CB: James CHESTER
CB: Jack HOBBS
LB: Liam ROSENIOR
RM: Corry EVANS
CM: Robbie BRADY
CM: Paul McKENNA
LM: Cameron STEWART
CF: Aaron McLEAN
CF: Matty FRYATT
Last Time: Portsmouth 2 Hull City 3 (Championship - 03/01/2011)
After dominating the first half, Pompey fell behind when Halford felled Stewart in the box with Jimmy Bullard converting the resultng penalty. Liam Lawrence then scored a spot kick of his own in the second half to restore parity.
Pompey pushed forward but were hit with a double-suckerpunch as Fryatt and Barmby took advantage of slack defending to put the Tigers 3-1 up. Halford headed in a corner with 15 minutes to go but the home side couldn't find an equaliser.
This will be a tough game and I expect plenty of incident, but we simply have to win and I think we will do just about enough to do so.
Portsmouth 1 Hull City 0
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