Portsmouth vs Stoke Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 26 October 2009
Pompey take on Premier League rivals Stoke City for a place in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup.

Team News

Jamie O'Hara and Kevin-Prince Boateng are cup-tied after playing for Tottenham in round 2 of the Carling Cup and the same can be said for Mike Williamson and Tommy Smith who played for Watford in earlier rounds.

Michael Brown should return to the side and David James is expected to play his 800th club game between the sticks. It looks like Richard Hughes, Anthony Vanden Borre and Frederic Piquionne will be given a chance to impress amongst other Pompey fringe players.

Tony Pulis will continue to use the Carling Cup as a chance for his squad players to stake their claim in the first team. Tuncay should make his first start for the Potters whilst Mamady Sidibe and Dave Kitson should start up front.

The Match

I've heard contrasting views from Pompey fans on this game. Some say it's a welcome distraction from our torrid league campaign and the happenings off the pitch, whilst others believe we have no chance of winning the trophy and should just come out of it and focus all our attention on staying in the league.

I think this is a welcome distraction for us and I'm hoping that Paul Hart plays his strongest side available because it seems like our ex-manager is content to leave his big guns such as James Beattie out of the starting XI.

This is certainly a game we can win if our fringe players can reproduce the kind of football that we played against Everton and Tottenham at Fratton Park. We know Stoke are going to be direct and physical so our players will need to be up for that battle.

Stoke can consider themselves a tad fortunate to even be playing in this round after being given a hell of a game by Blackpool. They had taken a two goal lead and then managed to equalise after going 3-2 down until Andy Griffin (remember him?) scored a 96th minute winner to send the Potters through.

Of course, we haven't had it easy in this competiton ourselves after suffering a scare at Carlisle but I just hope that we can put all the drama off the field to one side and just find some way of beating Stoke to give our fans something to cheer about after such a bleak season.

After all, win this game and we're only three games from Wembley!

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: David JAMES

RB: Anthony VANDEN BORRE
CB: Younes KABOUL
CB: Marc WILSON
LB: Nadir BELHADJ

DM: Aaron MOKOENA
CM: Michael BROWN
CM: Richard HUGHES
AM: KANU

CF: Frederic PIQUIONNE
CF: John UTAKA

Stoke

GK: Steve SIMONSEN

RB: Andy GRIFFIN
CB: Danny HIGGINBOTHAM
CB: Leon CORT
LB: Andy WILKINSON

RM: Liam LAWRENCE
CM: Tom SOARES
CM: Michael TONGE
LM: Matthew ETHERINGTON

CF: Mamady SIDIBE
CF: Dave KITSON

My Prediction: I have a good feeling about this one. But then I said that about the other last two games....

Portsmouth 2 Stoke City 1 (After Extra Time)

Portsmouth Match Reports


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