Portsmouth vs Millwall Preview

24 December 2010 05:50
Will there be festive cheer for Pompey fans? Pompey take on Millwall on Boxing Day for what will be their first home game for six weeks.Team NewsGreg Halford is suspended for this fixture for picking up his fifth yellow card at Norwich so Joel Ward will take his place at right back whilst Carl Dickinson returns at left back following a three-game ban.Steve Cotterill must also decide whether to play Michael Brown or Richard Hughes in the centre of midfield with both only two squad appearances away from automatically renewing their contract on wages that Pompey simply cannot afford.Millwall are likely to be without captain Paul Robinson who has a hamstring injury but the news is more promising for striker Kevin Lisbie and midfielder Liam Trotter.The MatchIt has been a while since Pompey won a match on Boxing Day - 2006 to be precise. That was a 2-1 win over West Ham at Upton Park but since then the Hammers have beaten us twice and Arsenal were held to a draw back in 2007.West Ham's rivals arrive at Fratton Park for this season's festive fixture in good form as they're unbeaten in four. Pompey haven't won at Fratton Park since beating Nottingham Forest 2-1 on October 30th.Portsmouth's last home game resulted in a 3-2 defeat to Doncaster but that was way back on November 13th. Since then, Pompey have recorded two excellent away wins at promotion chasing Swansea and Norwich and look to be back on form.Victory in this game (which kicks off at 1pm) could temporarily take Pompey into 7th in the table so that should be a major incentive for a team whose staff constantly talk about a push for the play-offs, with six points seperating Portsmouth (with two games in hand) and Coventry in 6th.I can't see why we shouldn't win. I'm not sure if having Dickinson back is going to be a boost but now Kitson has finally broken his duck perhaps he might start a goalscoring run whilst Nugent and Lawrence have always performed well at Fratton Park and I expect Boxing Day to be no different.Kenny Jackett's men will be a tough nut to crack, but I believe we'll have too much for them.Play up Pompey!Predicted Starting Line-UpsPompeyGK: Jamie ASHDOWNRB: Joel WARDCB: Aaron MOKOENACB: Ricardo ROCHALB: Carl DICKINSONRM: Liam LAWRENCECM: Michael BROWNCM: Hayden MULLINSLM: John UTAKACF: David NUGENTCF: Dave KITSONMillwallGK: David FORDERB: Alan DUNNECB: Darren WARDCB: Danny SHITTULB: Scott BARRONRM: Jason PUNCHEONCM: Nadjim ABDOUCM: Liam TROTTERLM: Danny SCHOFIELDCF: Steve MORISONCF: Theo ROBINSONLast Time: Portsmouth 1 Millwall 0 (Division One - 14/09/2002)A solitary second half goal from Svetoslav Todorov was enough to see Pompey defeat a dogged Millwall team which contained Steve Claridge. The win set a new record for Pompey's best ever start to a season, having won 7 of their first 8 fixtures.My PredictionThe Lions come to Fratton Park in a good run of form but I'm backing Pompey to bring back some festive cheer and take the three points in a close contest.Portsmouth 2 Millwall 1