Portsmouth vs Wigan Preview

The match most Pompey fans have been waiting for finally takes place in front of the Sky cameras tomorrow as Paul Cook's Wigan come to Fratton Park.

Team News

Kenny Jackett is unlikely to make any changes to his team following yesterday's victory at Walsall and with no new injury worries.

Wigan are at full strength as Will Grigg is fit enough for selection despite being withdrawn during Good Friday's match against Oldham.

The Match

Just a few weeks ago most Pompey fans had written off the season after a second half collapse against Gillingham and many were fearful of what Wigan were capable of doing to a team in such poor form.

However, confidence is soaring following three straight wins without conceding a goal and that is mainly down to the form of an improved defence and having Brett Pitman back to lead the line.

Tomorrow's match is obviously going to be difficult as Paul Cook has a dearth of talent available to him and has unsurprisingly imposed his way of playing onto them thus it has reaped its rewards.

Still, as good as the Latics have been, they aren't Brazil and they're certainly beatable. Their fans wax lyrical about beating Manchester City, a freak result which wouldn't be repeated if that match were to be replayed a hundred times and that victory was followed by a defeat to that lot down the road in the following round. Any team that loses to Scummers this season can't claim to have anything special about them.

As for the kind of reception Cook is going to get, by all means thank him for what he did for us after the game but Fratton Park needs to be as hostile towards him and his players as it can possibly be. Not only have Pompey played at their best when the fans are on top of their opposition (the Southend game springs to mind) but Cook has a record of bottling it when the going gets tough, so anything we can do to just to make anything that little bit more difficult for him needs to be done.

Any advantage Pompey can get needs to be taken whether that be Nathan Thompson getting in Nick Powell's face at every opportunity or Gareth Evans winding up their players after every mistake they make. This fixture is tough enough as it is but if certain decisions go our way and their top performers are off their game then there's no reason why Pompey can't get a result tomorrow.

With Scunthorpe playing Plymouth, tomorrow presents a great opportunity to get back into the play-off places or at least the cusp of them. A draw wouldn't be a terrible result, either, with a trip to relegation threatened Rochdale up next.

But the focus has to be on winning the game and undoubtedly the players will be feeling confident. The fans should feel confident too and they should remind Cook what he walked out on last summer.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Pompey

GK: Luke McGEE

RB: Nathan THOMPSON

CB: Jack WHATMOUGH

CB: Matt CLARKE

LB: Dion DONOHUE

DM: Anton WALKES

RM: Jamal LOWE

CM: Ben CLOSE

CM: Gareth EVANS

LM: Kal NAISMITH

CF: Brett PITMAN

Wigan

GK: Christian WALTON

RB: Nathan BYRNE

CB: Che DUNKLEY

CB: Dan BURN

LB: Callum ELDER

DM: Sam MORSY

DM: Max POWER

RM: Michael JACOBS

AM: Nick POWELL

LM: Ryan COLCLOUGH

CF: James VAUGHAN

Last Time: Portsmouth 4 Wigan Athletic 0 (Premier League - 31/10/2009)

Aruna Dindane dinked the ball over Chris Kirkland to open the scoring before Freddie Piquionne added a second goal just before the break. Dindane would then bag a brace in the second half to complete his hat-trick against the beleaguered Latics in what was Pompey's best performance under Paul Hart's management.

My Prediction

Hopefully the crowd will be up for this and the players can continue playing in the same way they have been. Wigan have been in superb form themselves but if the defence can stay strong and hit them on the break, as so many teams did to Pompey under Cook's management, then the Blues can get a result.

Portsmouth 1 Wigan Athletic 1