Stoke vs Portsmouth Preview
Stoke captain Abdoulaye Faye misses out because of a suspension following his sending off at Hull. Glenn Whelan is a doubt after picking up a groin strain in Ireland's hugely controversial defeat in France, but ex-Scummers James Beattie, Ricardo Fuller and Rory Delap are expected to play.
Paul Hart wil assess his players that were on international duty last week with Nadir Belhadj, Hassan Yebda, Aaron Mokoena, Aruna Dindane and Kanu all away from Portsmouth.
Dindane is a slight doubt because of a chest infection whilst the game comes too soon for Steve Finnan and John Utaka. However, Hermann Hreidarsson may play some part after playing 65 minutes against Cheltenham in a closed-doors friendly.
Chelsea did us a favour by battering Wolves earlier today which means Pompey can move off the bottom of the league with a win at the Britannia Stadium.
West Ham and Hull drew which was probably the best result for us but unfortunately Birmingham won which means that Pompey still have a lot of work to do to get out of the bottom three.
A defeat would be a huge blow to Pompey's survival chances with Manchester United to come next week, meaning we could find ourselves cut adrift at the bottom of the league if we fail to win tomorrow.
Stoke may be notoriously hard to beat at home but Pompey can take heart from the fact that the Potters aren't on the greatest run of form after losing to Hull and drawing with Wolves after being battered by Pompey in the Carling Cup.
That result should have no baring on what transpires tomorrow as two completely different teams should take to the field. As well as the likes of Beattie and Fuller to contend with, Pompey will also have to find a way of dealing with Matthew Etherington who is in red-hot form at the moment.
Tony Pulis' men also like to play direct like Blackburn and Pompey failed to cope at Ewood Park. I hope Paul Hart has been working on defending long balls and set-pieces because that was our undoing at Blackburn and you know our defence will be tested in a similar way tomorrow.
Of course, our main problem this season has been scoring goals and I'm struggling to see how our front two, whoever they may be, are going to get the better of Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross. I can only hope other members of the team are going to chip in.
I'd take a draw from this game but in all honesty we need a win. It's doubtful we'll get anything aganst United next week and so the table will make for bleak reading in a fortnight if we don't pick up three points here.
Don't get your hopes up though.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Thomas SORENSEN
RB: Andy WILKINSON
CB: Robert HUTH
CB: Ryan SHAWCROSS
LB: Danny COLLINS
RM: Rory DELAP
CM: Salif DIAO
CM: Dean WHITEHEAD
LM: Matthew ETHERINGTON
CF: James BEATTIE
CF: Ricardo FULLER
GK: David JAMES
RB: Anthony VANDEN BORRE
CB: Younes KABOUL
CB: Marc WILSON
LB: Tal BEN-HAIM
DM: Aaron MOKOENA
CM: Michael BROWN
CM: Jamie O'HARA
AM: Kevin-Prince BOATENG
CF: Frederic PIQUIONNE
CF: Aruna DINDANE
Last Time: Stoke City 2 Portsmouth 2
After a truly dire 75 minutes, Pompey took the lead following a neat move that Niko Kranjcar finished by sweeping the ball into the net. However, Stoke were level minutes after thanks to an incredibly harsh penalty decision as the ball hit Glen Johnson's shoulder in the box.
James Beattie scored from the spot and then headed in another goal as it looked like Pompey would be unfairly beaten, but deep into stoppage time Hermann Hreidarsson's fierce drive cannoned off of Ryan Shawcross for an own goal and a share of the spoils.
Lawro: Home Win (2-1)
Sky Sports: Home Win (2-0)
Paul Merson: Home Win (2-1)
Stoke-Mad: Home Win (3-1)
Soccernet: Home Win
My Prediction: My head says we'll fail to cope with Stoke's aerial bombardment and crumble, my heart says Pompey will prove me wrong and defend stoutly and earn a draw. Heart wins this time round!
Stoke City 1 Portsmouth 1