Portsmouth vs Wigan Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 30 October 2009
Pompey take on Wigan at Fratton Park knowing that anything other than three points tomorrow will most likely kill any realistic hope of Premier League survival.

Team News

Paul Hart is likely to bring back Kevin-Prince Boateng, Tal Ben-Haim, Steve Finnan and Jamie O'Hara back into the side after the 4-0 hammering of Stoke but he has a dilemma up front after Frederic Piquionne scored twice on Tuesday.

Michael Brown will be facing his former club, probably at the expense of Aaron Mokoena but Papa Bouba Diop and Hermann Hreidarsson are still out injured.

Roberto Martinez returns to Fratton Park for the first time since his Swansea side knocked Pompey out of the FA Cup last season. Jason Scotland, who scored in that game should start tomorrow.

Martinez's major injury troubles come from Maynor Figueroa who is certain to miss the game with a knee injury and Paul Scharner who is doubtful with a hamstring injury.

The Match

I know I've been repeating this all week but Pompey simply have to win this game to retain any hope of staying in the Premier League. A draw or a defeat would give us too much to do in my opinion with two tough trips to Stoke and Blackburn coming up and then with a torrid December on the horizon.

We fans simply need to forget what is going on off the pitch for tomorrow and concentrate on get supporting the eleven players that are wearing blue shirts for 90 minutes.

Wigan have had their own off the field problems after Marlon King was jailed and Roberto Martinez landed himself in hot water with other managers for his outspoken comments (even though I tend to agree with a lot of what he said). But I don't expect that to affect how the Latics play tomorrow.

Wigan's mid-table security this season has come from the ability to beat Chelsea and then somehow following that up by losing to a dire team like Hull.

I believe we can win this game simply because Hull managed to do it, and it's about time that our league performances at Fratton Park reap the rewards they deserve as in my opinion I don't think we've deserved to lose any of our home games this season.

But Wigan did manage to break Burnley's 100% record at Turf Moor last week so it's hard to predict how they're going to play, but you can bet that Colombian Hugo Rodallega will have a say on how the game pans out given his excellent form so far this campaign.

But this is the game where our defence have to stay solid and keep a clean sheet and our strikers must find their shooting boots and score a goal or two because it has simply been too long without a goal for Dindane and Smith.

It's do or die for Pompey tomorrow, and the same could be said for Paul Hart.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: David JAMES

RB: Steve FINNAN
CB: Younes KABOUL
CB: Marc WILSON
LB: Tal BEN-HAIM

DM: Michael BROWN
CM: Jamie O'HARA
CM: Hassan YEBDA
AM: Kevin-Prince BOATENG

CF: Tommy SMITH
CF: Aruna DINDANE

Wigan

GK: Chris KIRKLAND

RB: Mario MELCHIOT
CB: Emmerson BOYCE
CB: Titus BRAMBLE
LB: Charles N'ZOGBIA

CM: Hendry THOMAS
CM: Mohamed DIAME
CM: Paul SCHARNER

RWF: Jason SCOTLAND
LWF: Jason KOUMAS
CF: Hugo RODALLEGA

Last Time: Portsmouth 1 Wigan Athletic 2

Wigan stole all three points at a rain drenched Fratton Park thanks to Emile Heskey's stoppage time winner. The Latics had taken the lead with an Amr Zaki penalty on the stroke of half-time but Niko Kranjcar equalised in the last 10 minutes after Pompey had hit the woodwork numerous times.

Pundit Watch

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

My Prediction: This is a hard one to call but I'm going for Pompey to take advantage of a weak looking Wigan defence and finally win their first league game at home. Our season is over if we don't...

Portsmouth 2 Wigan Athletic 1

Portsmouth Match Reports

Sky Bet League One Sat 21st October 15:00

Blackburn Rovers 3 - 0 Portsmouth

Last game - Match Centre


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