Doncaster vs Portsmouth Preview

11 February 2011 06:12
Pompey head to the Keepmoat Stadium. Pompey travel to Doncaster for the first time since 1983 in a bid to get their season back on track.Team NewsAaron Mokoena is unavailable for Pompey as he is stuck in South Africa until Monday after his work permit expired and he failed to get a new one on time. So Ricardo Rocha could return to the starting line-up.Liam Lawrence may also miss the game after he sat out Ireland's friendly with Wales due to a calf strain which has has received intensive treatment for during the week.Doncaster are suffering an injury crisis with up to twelve players missing, although Neil Sullivan and James Coppinger should return to the squad. James Hayter will miss the game because of a calf injury.The MatchThe tale of Pompey's woeful form has been told many times but the opposition tomorrow are in hardly much better shape, having lost five of their last six games.Donny's inconsistency means that they are going to have to settle for a mid-table position this season, although their erratic form suggests that they might join Pompey in the relegation battle should they lose tomorrow.I have a feeling this game is going to be similar to last week's against Derby. It'll be dreadful, the ball will spend more time out of play than on the pitch and both sides will gift the other some good chances that probably won't be taken.If you want to be positive then it looks like Steve Cotterill will finally introduce Rocha, Pompey's best defender by far, back into the team to at least improve our chances of a clean sheet. Should he pick Sonko instead, I fear he'll score another own goal!Much hope will also be pinned on the fitness of Liam Lawrence. Doncaster took advantage of his absence at Fratton Park earlier in the season and if we're without his creativity tomorrow then they may do so again, as Dave Nugent can't be relied on to singlehandedly provide moments of inspiration to rescue us on a regular basis, especially when he plays wide.And will Dave Kitson finally do something useful tomorrow? The former Reading man has been a big disappointment this season but I don't think he can carry all of the blame. He's not a target man so can't do much with the hoofs towards him and he needs a strike partner to work with, although it seems very likely he will play alone up front again.I'm not confident we'll get anything out of this game, it has "fuitless trip to Yorkshire and Doncaster's first ever double over Portsmouth complete" written all over it.Predicted Starting Line-UpsDoncasterGK: Gary WOODSRB: James O'CONNORCB: Matt KILGALLONCB: Sam HIRDLB: Joeseph MILLSRM: James COPPINGERCM: Brian STOCKCM: Paul KEEGANLM: John OSTERCF: Steve BROOKERCF: Billy SHARPPompeyGK: Jamie ASHDOWNRB: Ritchie DE LAETCB: Greg HALFORDCB: Ricardo ROCHALB: Hermann HREIDARSSONRM: Liam LAWRENCECM: Joel WARDCM: Hayden MULLINSCM: Jonathan HOGGLM: David NUGENTCF: Dave KITSONLast Time: Doncaster Rovers 0 Portsmouth 2 (Division Three - 30/04/1983)Billy Rafferty and Neil Webb bagged the goals for Bobby Campbell's men as Pompey took a huge step to winning the Third Division Championship as Rovers were relegated at the end of the season.My PredictionWe need Lawrence to be fit to stand any real chance in this one but even then, with our defence and considering the awful run we're on, I think we shall have to wait until next week to get out of trouble.Doncaster Rovers 2 Portsmouth 1