West Ham vs Pompey Preview

Last updated : 17 March 2006 By Jim Bonner
Tommorow sees Harry Redknapp return to Upton Park for the first time since he left them in 2001. Make no mistake, West Ham is Harry's true home, not Pompey but I know plenty of Hammers who don't like him so I'm sure the reception will be a different kind of "warm" tommorow.

I see this game as one we have to get something from. Personally I think we realistically need four points from our next two games so by my reckoning that means we can't afford to lose and a draw would force us to beat Arsenal next week. So winning would be handy...

It's not going to be impossible either. Alan Pardew has already said he has one eye on his side's FA Cup game on Monday meaning he might play a weakened side tommorow despite the pleas of Bryan Robson and Steve Bruce. So if we didn't have any motivation to go and win tommorow that bit of news there would certainly give encouragement. Also let's not forget that West Ham had to play 120 minutes against Bolton on Wednesday so they could still be a little fatigued going into this game.

As for the teams Shaka Hislop will not play against us due to an injury which is probably good news because no doubt he would have had a blinder against us. Noe Pamarot is back so expect him to replace Brian Priske in a move that will no doubt anger the majority of Pompey fans, though the good news is that Toddy is likely to start against his former club with D'Alessandro playing just behind the front two. Teddy Sheringham is also likely to play some part in this game, let's hope that he doesn't make us pay for letting him go belatedly two seasons ago.

Having not won away since Sunderland in November the law of averages suggests we should get one soon. But we're Pompey and we don't do laws and we don't follow the script. For Harry it would probably feel like a "home" win if we do take all three points and maybe this "home" factor will be an advantage to us, or maybe I'm just talking out of my arse. The facts are that West Ham are strong at home and we're pathetic away from Fratton Park so even if West Ham are weakened it will take one hell of a performance to win this game.

I'd happily take another 93rd minute Pedro Mendes screamer though!