Portsmouth vs West Brom Preview

Pompey take on basement club West Brom knowing that anything but victory at Fratton Park tomorrow won't be good enough and will pile the pressure on for the rest of the season.

Of course, if we win then we could climb all the way to 13th in the league and given that a few of our relegation rivals are almost certain to lose this weekend we could make a significant stride to safety.

There can really be no excuses for failing to beat the Baggies tomorrow. They have the worst away record in the division, they have scored less on the road than any other team and won only once away from the Hawthorns (at Middlesbrough) all season.

Since Paul Hart has taken charge of Pompey the home record has been pretty good with impressive wins over Man City and Everton with the only defeat coming against Chelsea.

The bad news for the Pompey caretaker manager is that Glen Johnson is suspended for this game and Sean Davis will not recover from his knee injury in time for the game.

That means that Jermaine Pennant will play at right midfield and Younes Kaboul will continue at right back with the rest of the team being "as-you-were" from the draw at Hull.

Tony Mowbray should welcome back Abdoulaye Meite to shore up the defence as the Ivorian hasn't played since the disaster in Malawi during a World Cup qualifier.

Scott Carson is likely to feature in goal so let's hope he has another mere against us after his woeful performance for Aston Villa against us last season. Albion strike duo Jay Simpson and Marc-Antoine Fortune only have 3 goals between them in the league which is just one of the reasons why they are bottom of the table.

It's hard to believe that both Pompey and West Brom were enjoying superb seasons last year when they met in the FA Cup. This campaign in comparison has been very disappointing but at least we might survive whereas the Baggies are all but down.

It's a shame because I have a lot of respect for West Brom. They play good football and have a great fanbase so I'd rather they would have survived rather than the hoofball merchants of Stoke and Bolton (not that we've played great football this season either...)

The bottom line is that if we don't win tomorrow (and the next home game with Bolton) then staying up is going to be made significantly more difficult as I don't expect too many points to come after the next two fixtures.

Fingers crossed that we can get the three points and that the other teams at the top can do us a favour and beat our relegation rivals for us.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: David JAMES

RB: Younes KABOUL
CB: Sol CAMPBELL
CB: Sylvain DISTIN
LB: Hermann HREIDARSSON

RM: Jermaine PENNANT
CM: Richard HUGHES
CM: Hayden MULLINS
LM: David NUGENT

AM: Niko KRANJCAR

CF: Peter CROUCH

West Brom

GK: Scott CARSON

RB: Gianni ZUIVERLOON
CB: Abdoulaye MEITE
CB: Jonas OLSSON
LB: Paul ROBINSON

RM: James MORRISON
CM: Borja VALERO
CM: Jonathan GREENING
LM: Chris BRUNT

CF: Jay SIMPSON
CF: Marc-Antoine FORTUNE

Last Time: Pompey 1 West Bromwich Albion 0

Svetoslav Todorov scored his first Premier League goal for Pompey as Harry Redknapp recorded a win on his home return as Portsmouth manager, which happened to be Pompey's first home win of the season in December 2005.

Pundit Watch

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

My Prediction: Albion haven't won at Fratton Park since 1958 when they hammered us 6-2 but I can't see us being beaten. A draw won't be good enough either but because of how bad the Baggies are I think we'll win, but it will be tense.

Pompey 2 West Bromwich Albion 1