Portsmouth vs Norwich match preview

Last updated : 31 December 2004 By Keith Allman
There's no doubting that the Chelsea game was a bonus, and that anything we got out of it was just a late Christmas present. As it is, we got nothing, and now it's back to the serious business. At the moment, we're lucky to be able to say that we're not really in the position where such terms as "relegation six pointer" and "must-win game" can be applied, sitting as we are happily in mid-table. But as Arjan De Zeeuw has pointed out during the week, it's important we win games like this to avoid being sucked back into the mire as the season progresses.

There will never be a better chance for us to play Norwich, as their squad is currently decimated by injury. Jonson, Helveg and ex-Southampton defender Charlton are all set for fitness tests, whilst Francis, Ward, Henderson, Holt, Safri and our own former striker, Svensson, will all miss out. Such a situation has lead to Nigel Worthington being forced to name youth players on the bench in recent matches; hardly ideal preperation.

On the flip side of the coin, we're finally starting to get back to full strength. Whilst LuaLua is still out, Kamara and Yakubu are both starting to regain match fitness after spells on the sidelines. Expect them both to start up front, replacing the one striker formation that has been favoured in recent weeks - I reckon this is the sort of game where we have to go out and impose ourselves and be the attacking force, rather than sitting back and adjusting to the oppositon, as was the way against Arsenal and Chelsea.

The defence could be bolstered by the news that Dejan Stefanovic and David Unsworth are once again nearing fitness. Matt Taylor has been in great form on the left wing, and perhaps it would be a little harsh if he were to lose his place - but Zajec has shown he's not afraid of making tough decisions for the good of the team. Such "tough decisions" may see Linvoy dropped to accomodate Stefanovic, although we'll have to wait and see if he passes a fitness test.

This really is a game we have to win. I don't think it's going to be easy, after all what game is in this league? But with recent home games featuring "nearly" 1-0 and 2-0 defeats, it's time to start turning performances into wins. It's all very well and good at the end of the season for us to remember how close we came to beating Arsenal and Chelsea, but in the meantime the far more important results will be the gritty wins will force out against battlers like Norwich. So I'm hoping for a 3-1 win.