Portsmouth vs Leicester Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 25 November 2011

Michael Appleton will take charge of Pompey for the first time in front of his home crowd as Nigel Pearson brings his Leicester team to the south coast for his first away game back in charge of the Foxes.

Team News

Joe Mattock and George Thorne are likely to start the match with Tal Ben-Haim and David Norris the most likely players to make way for them. Liam Lawrence still isn't fit which means Joel Ward is likely to play again at right midfield.

Sol Bamba has served his one match ban for the Foxes but will be vying with Sean St. Ledger to get back into the team. David Nugent has also vowed not to celebrate should he score against his former club tomorrow.

The Match

With all that's happening with Antonov, it is important that we back the team tomorrow and at least try and inspire them to victory if we're to avoid trouble on the pitch as well as off it.

Much was expected of Leicester this season given that they were joint-favourites to win the Championshipbut they have struggled to fulfil those expectations so far, despite lying just two points off the play-off places.

It will be interesting to see how the West Brom duo perform on their debuts. Mattock will want to prove a point to his former club but I'd feel sorry for Ben-Haim if he is dropped given how consistent he has been this season, he could certainly do a job at right back.

As for Thorne, he is a player who has also shown mass promise and should do a better job than the often-missing Norris who has been one of our poorer performers this season.

I expect us to attack Leicester from the off and for some unexplainable reason we seem to be far more potent at home than we are away from Fratton Park. Having won the last three home games convincingly, we should be able to get a result as long as Huseklepp, Varney and Kitson don't repeat their showings at Watford.

Then we have the issue of David Nugent returning to his former hunting ground. I think we have missed him this season, despite what some fans might say about him. Whilst his overall Pompey career won't be remembered for its success, he did score 14 times for us last season and was the only player we had who was capable of scoring goals from nothing.

It would be just typical of him to score a 30-yard volley against us after missing a sitter from two tomorrow. Whilst we'll be hoping he has a stinker the defence will still have to be wary of Jermaine Beckford who is good enough to play in the Premier League, unlike Dave.

It will be a tough match but I'm confident Pompey can pick up a result and maybe the "new manager effect" will kick in this week after a nightmare start for Appleton last weekend.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: Stephen HENDERSON

RB: Greg HALFORD

CB: Jason PEARCE

CB: Ricardo ROCHA

LB: Joe MATTOCK

RM: Joel WARD

CM: Hayden MULLINS

CM: George THORNE

LM: Erik HUSEKLEPP

CF: Luke VARNEY

CF: Dave KITSON

Leicester

GK: Kasper SCHMEICHEL

RB: Lee PELTIER

CB: Matt MILLS

CB: Sol BAMBA

LB: Paul KONCHESKY

RM: Paul GALLAGHER

CM: Richie WELLENS

CM: Andy KING

LM: Lloyd DYER

CF: Jermaine BECKFORD

CF: David NUGENT

Click here for the Fratton Faithful Leicester City Championship Profile page.

Last Time: Portsmouth 6 Leicester City 1 (Championship - 24/09/2010)

This rout began when Michael Morrison conceded a penalty with Liam Lawrence scoring from the spot. Lawrence then smashed a second goal in from a free kick after Vitor was sent off for a professional foul on Nugent.

The now-Leicester striker then scored himself in the second half after forcing the ball past Conrad Logan and then straight from kick off he set up Kitson who lobbed the Foxes 'keeper for the fourth goal of the game.

Steve Howard took advantage of some confusion in the box to give the visitors something to cheer about but Kitson scored from close range for Pompey's fifth.

Michael Brown took the ball past three Leicester players before finishing a magnificent solo goal in stoppage time to rubber stamp an emphatic win over the same team that had knocked Pompey out of the Carling Cup just three days earlier.

My Prediction

Our home form, believe it or not, is only bettered by Birmingham and them lot down the road and so we should get a result against a good team tomorrow, though I doubt we'll win with Nugent almost certain to net against his former employers.

Portsmouth 1 Leicester City 1

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