Sheffield United vs Pompey Preview

Last updated : 12 January 2007 By Jim Bonner
It's only been three weeks since Pompey beat Sheffield United at Fratton Park and tomorrow we travel to Bramall Lane for the return fixture already with a possibility of claiming our second "double" of the season.

No doubt this will be a tough game but Pompey fans can take heart in the fact that Chris Morgan is banned whilst new signing Matthew Kilgallon is injured. Still, Premiership goal machine Jon Stead will be making his debut for the Blades so hopefully the Pompey defence can spare us the embarrassment of conceding to him.

Speaking of embarrassing, Djimi Traore will also be making his debut in a Pompey shirt. No matter what we think of him, we should be supporting him although I can't help but think that he will get crucified after the first mistake he makes. The good news about Traore's participation is that Matt Taylor will play in midfield where he has excelled this season.

According to reports, Glen Johnson has suffered another injury in training, meaning Andy Griffin; who was due to complete a move to Stoke, could end up deputising for the injured Johnson. So our confidence in our full backs is going to be shaky right from the start.

Benjani is set to be rested after admitting his body can't take any more playing with an injury. This gives Andy Cole and Kanu a chance to gel together and form a goal-getting partnership up front. There's a small possibility of Harry opting for 4-5-1 but with Manuel Fernandes gone I'd expect us to play 4-4-2 with Toddy on the bench.

Sheffield United are known for their battling qualities and that has been reflected in their results at home this season with two of their home wins coming from goals scored in the final minute, with the other victory coming against Arsenal, something we haven't managed to achieve in the Premiership.

Although we eventually won comfortably against United a few weeks ago I can see this game being tougher because you just know that if they are still in with a sniff of a result towards the end, they will do everything in their power to grab it. Oh... and they're one of our bogey teams too let's not forget.

Still, on the face of it they are a side in the bottom six whilst we are a side in the top six. There's no reason why we can't turn them over on their own patch to further enhance our chances of European Football. The last time Pompey met Sheffield United at home the game ended in a 1-1 draw with Peter Ndlovu and Deon Burton getting the goals.

I feel this game will be more of a test of character than a test of ability. We clearly have the better team; we just have to prove it.

Pundit Watch

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