Portsmouth vs West Ham Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 25 January 2010
West Ham currently sit five points ahead of Pompey in the Premier League table having played a game more, so victory would give the Blues a new hope of avoiding the drop, but defeat would be catastrophic.

Team News

Avram Grant has new injury problems as both Papa Bouba Diop and Michael Brown are almost certain not to play after injuries against Sunderland. This means that Hayden Mullins should play against his former club and Angelos Basinas could get a rare start.

John Utaka should spearhead Pompey's attack along with Frederic Piquionne but although David Nugent is back with the club, he can't play as his loan registration with Burnley doesn't officially end until midnight tomorrow.

The Hammers' top scorer in Carlton Cole may be fit enough for a place on the bench but Gianfranco Zola also has his fair share of injury problems as Franco, Luis Boa Morte, Danny Gabbidon and Herita Ilunga all miss out through injury. All of his other recognised strikers are not 100% fit.

The Match

If Pompey are to retain any realistic hopes of Premier League survival then they simply have to win this game. With a trio of extremely tough away games coming up in the form of Man City, Man United and Fulham, it's imperative that Portsmouth take all three points against their fellow strugglers.

West Ham's supporters have recently been boosted by their takeover by David Gold and David Sullivan, who have revealed just how bad their debt situation is. I wish our owners would have done the same back when Al-Fahim sold up.

I worry about the fact that our injury ravaged squad are going to have to perform for 90 minutes against a team who should be fresh after sitting the weekend out. It's rumoured that the crisis is so bad that Avram Grant will only name three substitutes tomorrow!

What hope we do have is that we're unbeaten in 2010 (three games) and John Utaka has re-discovered some of his form now that he is playing up front. I still worry about our lack of creativity in midfield so hopefully Basinas will start and supply the front two and I'm also concerned about our defence that haven't kept a clean sheet in well over a month.

Speaking of the defence, this will probably be Younes Kaboul's last game for Portsmouth before he is sold to pay the bills. I hope his farewell appearance is a memorable one for all the right reasons.

On a final note, please don't invade the pitch tomorrow! The FA are well within their rights to impose a punishment on the club for that behaviour and the security for this match has been stepped up because of the actions of a few attention seeking idiots, meaning Pompey have even more money to pay.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: Asmir BEGOVIC

RB: Anthony VANDEN BORRE
CB: Younes KABOUL
CB: Marc WILSON
LB: Hermann HREIDARSSON

DM: Aaron MOKOENA
CM: Angelos BASINAS
CM: Hayden MULLINS
AM: Kevin-Prince BOATENG

CF: John UTAKA
CF: Frederic PIQUIONNE

West Ham

GK: Robert GREEN

RB: Julien FAUBERT
CB: James TOMKINS
CB: Matthew UPSON
LB: Jonathan SPECTOR

RM: Jack COLLISON
CM: Scott PARKER
CM; Mark NOBLE
CM: Radoslav KOVAC
LM: Allesandro DIAMANTI

CF: Frank NOUBLE

Last Time: Portsmouth 1 West Ham United 4

Nadir Belhadj gave Pompey an early lead against the Hammers on Boxing Day 2008 but it was all downhill from there. Jack Collison slotted in an equaliser before the break and Jermain Defoe missed a penalty against his former club.

Tony Adams' side were then torn apart in the second half by Craig Bellamy who scored twice after assisting for Carlton Cole's goal that initially gave the visitors the lead.

Pundit Watch

Lawro: Home Win (2-1)

My Prediction: With so many problems we have it all to do but I believe our unity and spirit will play a big part in Pompey coming out on top in a very tense and nervous affair.

Portsmouth 1 West Ham United 0

Portsmouth Match Reports

Sky Bet League One Sat 20th January 15:00

Rotherham United 1 - 0 Portsmouth

Last game - Match Centre


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