Portsmouth vs Wigan Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 31 October 2008
Tony Adams will be looking to mark his home debut as Pompey manager with a win against struggling Wigan Athletic.

Steve Bruce's side have lost their last four games and sit in the bottom three as a result. Although the Latics boast the top goalscorer in the league in Amr Zaki the Wigan defence just can't stop conceding and so hopefully both Defoe and Crouch will find them easy pickings tomorrow.

However, Pompey fans haven't tasted victory since the 2-1 win over Stoke and will want to see that losing Harry Redknapp won't mean an alarming slump in form.

Tony Adams will be boosted by the return of Glen Johnson who has been out for the last few games although Sol Campbell is still not ready to return yet. The Pompey manager is likely to recall Jermain Defoe to the starting eleven in favour of a 4-4-2 formation with John Utaka keeping his place on the right.

That means that either Papa Bouba Diop or Sean Davis will miss out on playing in the centre of midfield alongside Lassana Diarra. After his mistakes at Anfield I expect Diop will be the one who gets the chop.

One of our problems this season is that we've been too reliant on Crouch and Defoe to score our goals. Johnson and Diarra are the only other players to have scored for us this season so it would be nice to see Utaka or Traore net tomorrow to ease the pressure on the front two.

The defence will have to be wary of Wigan's own front two in Zaki and Heskey who have hit the headlines for all the right reasons this season so far. Antonio Valencia has also caught the eye of bigger clubs and should be a threat on the wing.

Despite Wigan's threats I see no reason why we shouldn't win this match simply because we are at home to an inferior team and (hopefully) the shock of Redknapp's departure has gone. I dread to think what the feeling will be if we fail to pick up all three points.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: David JAMES

RB: Glen JOHNSON
CB: Younes KABOUL
CB: Sylvain DISTIN
LB: Nadir BELHADJ

RM: John UTAKA
CM: Sean DAVIS
CM: Lassana DIARRA
LM: Armand TRAORE

CF: Jermain DEFOE
CF: Peter CROUCH

Wigan

GK: Chris KIRKLAND

RB: Mario MELCHIOT
CB: Emmerson BOYCE
CB: Titus BRAMBLE
LB: Maynor FIGUEROA

RM: Luis Antonio VALENCIA
CM: Wilson PALACIOS
CM: Lee CATTERMOLE
LM: Kevin KILBANE

CF: Emile HESKEY
CF: Amr ZAKI

Last Time: Pompey 2 Wigan Athletic 0

Jermain Defoe gave Pompey an early lead after being set up by John Utaka but Wigan blew a great chance to equalise after David James saved Ryan Taylor's penalty and then blasted the rebound over the bar. Defoe made all three points secure after scoring a second in stoppage time with Wigan caught short at the back.

Pundit Watch

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

My Prediction: Wigan are having an awful time of things at the moment and I think the "new manager" effect will take place tomorrow and we'll get the win. With Zaki and Heskey around however, I don't expect us to keep a clean sheet.

Pompey 2 Wigan Athletic 1

Portsmouth Match Reports


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