Portsmouth vs Derby Preview

04 February 2011 03:30
Pompey meet Rams in crunch encounter. Pompey host Derby at Fratton Park tomorrow with the result of match likely to have a huge bearing on whether both teams avoid relegation from the Championship.Team NewsCarl Dickinson is likely to miss a chunk of the season after it was revealed that he would need knee surgery to discover exactly what is wrong with him. Steve Cotterill is likely to stick with the same team that lost to QPR on Tuesday although he rates one of those who started that match as "50/50" to play tomorrow.Dean Leacock is suspended for Derby whilst other defenders Russell Anderson and Jake Buxton are also out injured. Robbie Savage, who will retire at the end of the season, may be handed a start.The MatchWhen these two sides met in November both were talked up as promotion candidates because of the outstanding form that the teams had produced.Fast forward to the present day and the two teams now represent two of the clubs in the worst runs of form in the country and are now fighting to stay in the Championship.Pompey are now winless in eight Championship matches having only taken 3 points from the last 24 available. Derby are in similar dire straits having just won one game in the last eleven, losing the last four games in that run which included a humiliating 2-1 defeat to non-league Crawley Town in the FA Cup.It's safe to say that both teams are desperate for a win that could turn their season around, but with so much negativity surrounding both clubs due to matters on and off the pitch, you won't find many fans of either club giving a concrete prediction for tomorrow's score.What I will say is that if Pompey can play as they did against QPR then we've got a very good chance of winning. The players worked hard for each other, kept the ball well and created chances against a team that are top of the Championship.On the flip side, if Pompey perform as they did in their last home match against Burnley then they might as well not turn up and even then, that would be an improvement on that debacle.I know it seems very cliché but this is Pompey's most important game of the season. Could you imagine the uproar if we lost tomorrow? Some fans are already angry enough to protest before the game but at least a win would paper over the cracks temporarily.I expect a tense, scrappy encounter tomorrow with plenty of bookings, little quality and silly goals conceded.Predicted Starting Line-UpsPompeyGK: Jamie ASHDOWNRB: Ritchie DE LAETCB: Greg HALFORDCB: Aaron MOKOENALB: Hermann HREIDARSSONRM: Joel WARDCM: Jonathan HOGGCM: Hayden MULLINSLM: Liam LAWRENCECF: David NUGENTCF: Dave KITSONDerbyGK: Stephen BYWATERRB: John BRAYFORDCB: Shaun BARKERCB: Miles ADDISONLB: Gareth ROBERTSRM: Stephen PEARSONCM: Paul GREENCM: James BAILEYLM: Ben DAVIESCF: Alberto BUENOCF: Chris PORTERLast Time: Portsmouth 3 Derby County 1 (Premier League - 19/01/2008)Pompey suffered a shock start to this game as the rock bottom Rams took an early lead after Lewin Nyatanga poked in Laurent Robert's free kick. But the blues ended a seven match home run without scoring thanks to Benjani's hat-trick. The first was a tap in, the second was a header from a Hreidarsson cross but the best was saved til last as Pedro Mendes instigated a quick counter-attack which saw him exchange passes with the Zimbabwe striker who cooly finished the job.My PredictionI think the first goal will be very important here given the fragile confidence of both sides. I'm backing us to get it though, and we'll go on to win a tense and nervy encounter.Portsmouth 2 Derby County 1


World Cup Group G

England 2 0 0 6 6
Belgium 2 0 0 6 6
Tunisa 0 0 2 -4 0
Panama 0 0 2 -8 0
Last updated : 10:18