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Portsmouth v Bolton preview

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17 Apr 2009 10:37:59

Portsmouth v Bolton preview

Portsmouth will be looking to ease their relegation worries against a Bolton side that has the 40-point mark in their sights. Pompey have proved difficult to beat since Paul Hart took charge in February, with just one defeat in seven matches. They are in a healthier position than many in the scrap for survival, currently standing 14th in the table and four points clear of the drop zone. However, Hart will feel his men missed an opportunity when they were held to a 2-2 draw by bottom club West Brom at Fratton Park last weekend. Pompey will be determined to get back on track when they face the Trotters and Glen Johnson and Sean Davis are both expected to return to the side following suspension and injury respectively. Richard Hughes' place may be vulnerable, while Younes Kaboul could also be left out despite scoring an excellent goal against the Baggies. Jermaine Pennant should be fit despite being substituted in some discomfort during the clash with West Brom. Reserve goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown has recovered from an ankle problem but Canadian Amir Begovic is likely to continue to provide the cover for David James. Just about safeBolton boss Gary Megson admitted it would be difficult for his side to be caught following the recent 4-1 victory over Middlesbrough but it is still so congested in the bottom half of the table that they will not feel safe just yet. Another win would take the Trotters to 40 points and Megson will want his men to play as they did in the closing stages of last week's clash with Chelsea. Bolton were disappointing for much of the game and fell 4-0 behind, but they gave the UEFA Champions League semi-finalists a major scare by scoring three times in the final 20 minutes. Danny Shittu is a major doubt after suffering an ankle injury in a collision with Didier Drogba, although the Nigeria international has had intensive treatment in a bid to recover. Megson has no other fresh injury concerns and is likely to keep faith with the same players who lost at Stamford Bridge, meaning starlet Chris Basham will again have to settle for a place on the bench despite scoring against the Blues. Possible starting XIsPortsmouth: James, Kaboul, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Johnson, Davis, Mullins, Nugent, Kranjcar, Crouch. Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, A O'Brien, Samuel, Taylor, Muamba, McCann, Gardner, Elmander, K Davies.


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