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Portsmouth v Sunderland preview
Published : 18 May 2009 10:04:20
Sunderland travel to Portsmouth on Monday night looking to secure their Premier League safety. Portsmouth go into the game safe as a result of Newcastle's home defeat by Fulham on Saturday. Sunderland remain in 16th place in the table after Saturday's fixtures, but are only a point clear of Hull in 17th and one more better off than local rivals Newcastle inside the drop zone. As a result, they need a win at Portsmouth on Monday night to guarantee their top-flight survival, with a draw still leaving open the possibility that Newcastle could move above them on goal difference if they beat Aston Villa on the final day and the Wearsiders are beaten by Chelsea in their last game. Sunderland make the trip to Fratton Park without injured goalkeeper Craig Gordon, meaning Marton Fulop will continue in goal. Full-back George McCartney could return from injury, but Nyron Nosworthy remains sidelined/ Kieran Richardson, Kenwyne Jones and Teemu Tainio are all expected to shake off knocks to take their place in the side. Ricky Sbragia is likely to stick with his 4-5-1 formation with Djibril Cisse again finding himself on the bench. Portsmouth have close to a full-strength squad to choose from as they look to end their home campaign on a high. Croatian schemer Niko Kranjcar is still sidelined through injury, but Armand Traore is available again after shaking off a groin problem. Noe Pamarot is also back in the squad after serving a suspension. Possible starting XIs: Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Pennant, Mullins, Hughes, Davis, Belhadj, Crouch. Sunderland: Fulop, Bardsley, Ferdinand, Collins, Malbranque, Whitehead, Richardson, Leadbitter, Reid, Taino, Jones.