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Hartlepool vs Portsmouth Preview
Can Pompey stop the rot?
Pompey fans will be making the longest journey of the season tomorrow hoping that their team can end the miserable run of defeats at Victoria Park.
Patrick Agyemang may return to the Pompey team after missing the last two games but Therry Racon is still injured. Jack Whatmough is likely to keep his place at centre back after impressing against Southend.
Gavin Mahon has left the club whilst Jake Jervis will not be signing as FIFA do not recognise hm as a free agent as he was still contracted to Elazigspor on the last day of the transfer window.
Andy Monkhouse has served a one match suspension for Hartlepool and is likely to go straight back into the first team after a 1-0 midweek defeat at Bury, though manager Colin Coper may make other changes. Jack Compton may play against his former employers.
With Pompey's promotion aspects looking bleak, fans are now starting to lose interest in this season already with some people daring to mention the prospect of a relegation battle.
Tuesday night's defeat was a sucker-punch but summed up perfectly what this club has been going through on the pitch recently. The effort may have improved but poor defending and lack of character saw yet another surrender.
However, if there is an example of how a team can turn their fortunes around then it's Hartlepool United. Having struggled at the start of the season, Colin Cooper's team have improved drastically and now find themselves higher than Pompey in the table and will probably fancy their chances against a team so low in confidence.
It will probably mean another miserable day for those hardy souls making the long trip up to the Northeast tomorrow. Until a new manager is appointed it's doubtful that performances are going to improve too much unless Andy Awford can coach some defensive nous into his team.
If he does, he may well end up being appointed permanently having not ruled himself out of applying for the job yet. A couple of good results are very important not just to stave off the relegation fears but to reignite flagging interest in a season that promised more than what the reality currently is.
If the rot doesn't stop then more and more fans will feel indifferent about the club and it will be hard to get them back, which will only bode ill for the club's short term future.
Take myself for instance. Rather than repeat the ridiculously long journey that I undertook last season, I can't justify spending that amount of time and money which could be better spent on Christmas shopping for the family, and this is coming from someone who detests shopping at the best of times!
Simply put, the performances have brought on a feeling of apathy as prospects of achieving anything this season dwindle rapidly. I've seen enough shit in the last few years and thus it didn't feel like a good idea to waste more of my time when the team continue to play like they have been doing.
However, if Awford's men do the job at Victoria Park and even manage to play some entertaining football on the way then I'll be forced to eat some humble pie and perhaps start to get a little excited about how this season could still pan out for Pompey.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Scott FLINDERS
RB: Michael DUCKWORTH
CB: Christian BURGESS
CB: Jack BALDWIN
LB: Neil AUSTIN
RM: Andy MONKHOUSE
CM: Matthew DOLAN
CM: Simon WALTON
LM: Jonathan FRANKS
CF: James POOLE
CF: Luke JAMES
GK: Trevor CARSON
RB: Joe DEVERA
CB: Sonny BRADLEY
CB: Jack WHATMOUGH
LB: Dan POTTS
RM: Jed WALLACE
CM: Johnny ERTL
CM: Shaun COOPER
LM: Andy BARCHAM
CF: Patrick AGYEMANG
CF: David CONNOLLY
Last Time: Hartlepool United 0 Portsmouth 0 (League One - 12/02/2013)
Pompey set a new club record of twenty games without a win after one of the most boring games of football you'll ever see on a cold Tuesday night. The draw did prevent the team setting a new club record of ten straight defeats, however.
Until the board appoints a new manager it's difficult to see performances and results improving too much. Things are likely to get worse before they get better.
Hartlepool United 2 Portsmouth 1
Source: Fratton Faithful
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