Portsmouth vs Queens Park Rangers Preview
David Nugent remains sidelined so Steve Cotterill will have to decide whether to play John Utaka or Kanu up front with Dave Kitson. Liam Lawrence is likely to start at right midfield after being ineffective on the left at Derby.
QPR full back Bradley Orr is suspended for this game so Clint Hill will replace him whilst a familiar face in Shaun Derry should line up in midfield against his former club.
Tommy Smith is able to play against his parent club despite being "on loan" (don't ask me how that works) and Kyle Walker, so heavily linked with a loan move to Pompey earlier in the season, will feature against them tomorrow.
Saturday's defeat at Derby brought many of us back down to earth as the Rams outplayed Pompey and ended the seven match unbeaten run. Now QPR, unbeaten all season, arrive on the South Coast for what should be a tough fixture.
Neil Warnock's side are currently the top scorers in the Championship and have also kept ten clean sheets this season. After a run of four straight draws, QPR got back on track with a 3-1 win over Reading on Saturday.
Unlike a lot of teams who have won this division in the past, Rangers don't have the most talented side in the division but they work extremely hard and have a player capable of making something happen in Adel Taraabt.
Jamie Mackie was also one of the bargain buys of the summer having scored 8 league goals since his arrival from Plymouth for just £300,000. Warnock has also brought in quality experienced players in Paddy Kenny and Rob Hulse, so it's little wonder that the West London side are doing so well.
So, Pompey have got a job on if they want to get anything out of this game. That's not to say we can't as we've scored plenty of goals at home since the bad start but without Nugent up front, I think we'll be lacking that extra energy and workrate that he brings.
If I was Steve Cotterill, I would play Kanu from the start and put him alongside Kitson and try to play more direct football. Having Kanu up front would mean that Utaka could stick to the left and Lawrence to the right, which would give the team a much better balance than on Saturday.
Of course (and I mention this every week), the defence is still a concern and given how many goals the R's have scored this season already, it's safe to say that we will concede tomorrow night.
So, it's up to the likes of Kitson (who has been fairly lacklustre recently) and Utaka (who still only has a single goal to his name) to step up and put the ball in the back of the net. We simply can't keep relying on deflected Liam Lawrence goals to seal important wins.
It's difficult to predict this one, but I'd take a draw and hope that our players have enough in the tank to beat Doncaster on Saturday, because we face a tricky run of games after that.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Jamie ASHDOWN
RB: Greg HALFORD
CB: Ibrahima SONKO
CB: Aaron MOKOENA
LB: Carl DICKINSON
RM: Liam LAWRENCE
CM: Michael BROWN
CM: Hayden MULLINS
LM: Nadir CIFTCI
CF: John UTAKA
CF: Dave KITSON
GK: Paddy KENNY
RB: Kyle WALKER
CB: Matthew CONNOLLY
CB: Kaspars GORKSS
LB: Clint HILL
DM: Shaun DERRY
DM: Alejandro FAURLIN
RW: Tommy SMITH
CAM: Adel TARAABT
LW: Jamie MACKIE
CF: Rob HULSE
Last Time: Portsmouth 1 Queens Park Rangers 1 (Division One - 14/04/2001)
Lee Bradbury scored just after a minute after bundling in Lee Sharpe's cross corner and QPR would have two goals disallowed before Andy Thomson equalised in the second half by pouncing on the rebound after Aaron Flahavan failed to hold the shot.
Peter Crouch also featured in this game before signing for Pompey the following season after Rangers were relegated.
I think this will be a game full of endeavour but with some moments of quality too. QPR are a very good side but I think we can hold our own at Fratton Park and take a point.
Portsmouth 1 Queens Park Rangers 1