Portsmouth vs Stoke Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 04 October 2008
After a draining effort in the UEFA Cup midweek, you could have wished for more ideal opponents than Stoke City who are sure to fancy their chances against a knackered Pompey side tomorrow.

There will be many recognisable old faces at Fratton Park on Sunday. Ricardo Fuller, Andy Griffin, Lewis Buxton, Vincent Pericard, Amdy Faye and Salif Diao all wore the blue of Portsmouth at one time in their careers and of course, Tony Pulis was once a Pompey manager too.

Stoke may not have as much quality as most other Premier League sides but they are a big, physical, powerful side and will scrap until the end so Pompey must be up for the battle and I just wonder how our players will cope after the game at Guimaraes on Thursday.

Harry Redknapp's cause will not be helped by the suspension of Lassana Diarra following his red card against Spurs last week whilst John Utaka and Papa Bouba Diop will also miss out.

We will have to rely on our gritty players such as Sean Davis and Richard Hughes to get us through this one. Sol Campbell has been strong in his last two games despite the abuse he received from Spurs fans last week and he will need to keep going against Stoke's powerful strikers.

If we can match Stoke in the nitty-gritty stakes then we have the quality up front to win the game. I expect we'll line up 4-4-2 with Johnson and Little on the right and Belhadj and Traore on the left to cause as many problems down the wing as we can.

Liam Lawrence is likely to miss the game after tripping over his dog whilst Rory Delap is rated 50/50. Should Delap miss the match then that will take away Stoke's most potent weapon in the long throw.

We've got a battle on our hands tomorrow, let's hope the Pompey players are up for the fight.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: David JAMES

RB: Glen JOHNSON
CB: Sol CAMPBELL
CB: Sylvain DISTIN
LB: Nadir BELHADJ

RM: Glen LITTLE
CM: Richard HUGHES
CM: Sean DAVIS
LM: Armand TRAORE

CF: Jermain DEFOE
CF: Peter CROUCH

Stoke

GK: Thomas SORENSEN

RB: Andy GRIFFIN
CB: Ibrahima SONKO
CB: Abdoulaye FAYE
LB: Danny HIGGINBOTHAM

RM: Tom SOARES
CM: Amdy FAYE
CM: Salif DIAO
LM: Seyi OLOFINJANA

CF: Ricardo FULLER
CF: Dave KITSON

Pundit Watch

Lawro: Home Win (2-0)
Sky Sports: Home Win (1-0)
Soccernet: Draw

My Prediction: If we can match Stoke in the physicality stakes then we've got the likes of Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch to cause Stoke's generous defence some problems. However, if Thursday has taken too much out of the tank, then our past players may come back to haunt us...

Pompey 1 Stoke 0

Portsmouth Match Reports

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Last game - Match Centre


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