Portsmouth vs Nottingham Forest Preview
By Jim Bonner
Updated Friday, 4th November 2011
All eyes on Steve Cotterill as he returns to Fratton Park.
Managerless Pompey take on the team mentored by their old boss tomorrow, looking to get one over him and help Pompey climb away from the Championship relegation zone.
Liam Lawrence is a major doubt after limping off at Selhurst Park on Tuesday but Greg Halford may have recovered from a shoulder injury in time to play. Benjani may also be fit to take his place on the bench following a hamstring problem.
Steve Cotterill has no new injury concerns heading into the match with his former club but Ishmael Miller won't be available after a hernia operation whilst Paul Anderson and Gareth McCreary are long term absentees.
It will be interesting to see what kind of reception our former manager will receive when he steps into his unfamiliar away dugout at Fratton Park tomorrow.
Whilst most fans were happy to see him go after becoming disillusioned with the "Cotterball" and bad results, it shouldn't forgotten that he did a fairly good job last season in extremely trying circumstances.
I expect his reception will be indifferent with some mild applause and occasional jeer but then it will be time to focus on cheering our own team on who currently lie below Forest in the table after Cotterill lead them to three wins in their last four games.
One way to look at this game is that Cotterill knows our players inside-out and therefore knows their biggest strengths and weaknesses. Obviously, this is to his advantage but on the other hand the team have been playing differently since he left and so he may not be too clued up on a Pompey team that play a 4-4-2 formation.
I'm not expecting a great game by any stretch of the imagination tomorrow. Forest are grinding out results since Steve McClaren resigned and will make themselves tough to beat whilst Pompey have been struggling for any sort of rhythm recently, with goals and chances at a premium.
Having said that, we have a good record against the lower teams in the division at Fratton Park and I would bet there are a few individuals who raise their game a level to prove to their former boss that they are better than he thought.
Wouldn't it be deliciously ironic if a Ryan Williams cross was flicked on by the head of Ricardo Rocha for Dave Kitson to prod the ball into the back of the net for the winner?
I think we can win this game and then Cotterill can open up his book of bizarre excuses once again and blame his injury crisis or the inevitably poor referee or he'll blame himself for over-training his players.
More importantly, these three points will come extremely handy in moving Portsmouth up from 20th position in the league, a very precarious position indeed.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Stephen HENDERSON
RB: Greg HALFORD
CB: Ricardo ROCHA
CB: Jason PEARCE
LB: Tal BEN-HAIM
RM: Joel WARD
CM: David NORRIS
CM: Hayden MULLINS
LM: Erik HUSEKLEPP
CF: Luke VARNEY
CF: Dave KITSON
GK: Lee CAMP
RB: Greg CUNNINGHAM
CB: Luke CHAMBERS
CB: Wes MORGAN
LB: Joel LYNCH
RM: Chris GUNTER
CM: Guy MOUSSI
CM: Lewis McGUGAN
LM: Radoslaw MAJEWSKI
CF: Robbie FINDLEY
CF: Marcus TUDGAY
Last Time: Portsmouth 2 Nottingham Forest 1 (Championship - 20/10/2010)
Ibrahima Sonko gave Pompey the lead when he headed in Liam Lawrence's cross but Forest hit back ten minutes later when Paul Anderson produced a header of his own from Lewis McGugan's cross.
Lawrence scored the winner with a deflected long range strike in the second half but the Pompey defence had to hold firm and work extremely hard to keep out the late Forest flurry.
I have prior engagements and so unfortuantely won't be able to attend this game. I expect a scrappy encounter with the opposition looking for the long ball and picking up a few yellow cards along the way.
Abdul Razak is the ace up the sleeve and I am backing him to make an impact and be a key player in a victory for the home team.
Portsmouth 2 Nottingham Forest 1
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