Preview: Man City v Portsmouth

28 January 2010 02:59
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini will want see his side add more woe to rock-bottom Portsmouth on Sunday as they look to push their top-four challenge forward. The Citizens had a midweek break from Premier League action but there was no escaping from their red hot Carling Cup semi-final clash against city rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford. Mancini took his men to his fierce rivals with a slender 2-1 lead from the first-leg and United put themselves in firm control in the second-half of Wednesday's showdown. Goals from Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick looked set to send them to Wembley, but up popped Carlos Tevez to score a fantastic effort to level the aggregate score. However, Wayne Rooney, who threatened for much of the night, headed a last-gasp winner to send United to the final at City's expense and they now need to pick themselves up for the weekend. Avram Grant's beleaguered Pompey secured a 1-1 draw with fellow strugglers West Ham United on Tuesday at Fratton Park and they once again showed their new-found resilience after going behind. An ugly Matthew Upson goal looked set to plunge the south coast side into further misery although a late Danny Webber effort restored parity as they claimed a priceless point. With Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor and Craig Bellamy available to Mancini, his prodigious forwards should have enough in the tank to gun down Portsmouth's back-line that is likely to consist of Younes Kaboul, Hermann Hreidarsson, Anthony Vanden Borre and Marc Wilson with the impressive Bosnian keeper Asmir Begovic behind them. Ominously for Pompey is the record that City boast in their last 15 league fixtures. Just two defeats - against Tottenham Hotspur and Everton away from home - have blotted their fine copy book. If that isn't enough to worry Grant then perhaps City's seven wins and three draws from their ten home games to date may stymie the Israeli's sleeping pattern in the lead up to their tough weekend clash. City will be without three long-term knee victims on Sunday. Wayne Bridge is nearing fitness but the game is expected to come too soon for the England international, with Joleon Lescott out until next month and Michael Johnson missing for the rest of the season. Roque Santa Cruz (calf) is also ruled out until the end of February. Portsmouth's Papa Bouba Diop (hamstring) is likely to be ruled out with Nadir Belhadj, Hassan Yebda (both Algeria) and Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria) on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Source: ESA