Portsmouth vs Coventry Preview
Pompey look to end a bad week on a high note.
Beleaguered Coventry visit Fratton Park tomorrow with Michael Appleton still looking for his first win as Portsmouth manager.
'Appy will be without both Liam Lawrence and Luke Varney with ankle and hamstring injuries respectively, so it looks like the same side that earned a 1-1 draw with Leicester will start this one.
Andy Thorn is sweating over the fitness of teenager Cyrus Christie who went off injured in Coventry's last match at Brighton so Richard Wood might keep his place in the side. Martin Cranie will once again play against his former employers.
After all the talk of problems going on off the pitch, it will be good to focus on an actual game of football for a couple of hours or so tomorrow, and it's an important one.
The struggling Sky Blues currently sit 23rd in the league table with a meagre 13 points and have an abysmal away record that can match Pompey's. It simply goes without saying that the three points are ripe for the taking and failure to do so would cap off a truly miserable week for our fans.
It seems like Michael Appleton will again be deploying his "attacking" 4-2-3-1 formation that eventually came good in the second half against Leicester after a dire first 45 minutes.
This will probably mean Dave Kitson will once again frustrate the home crowd as he simply can't play as a lone frontman. Perhaps Benjani or even Kanu could do a better job?
On the other hand, this way of playing did bring out the best in David Norris last week and we'll be hoping for a similar workmanlike performance with a creative edge.
The visitors are likely to play in a diamond formation and pose some attacking threat in Polish striker Lucas Jutkiewicz. If the defence can keep him quiet then there is a great chance of Pompey winning this match.
I'm confident that the players will perform and get the right result. A win will lift the spirits of the Pompey fans a little for the tougher times ahead but defeat will all but confirm that this season will simply be about survival on the pitch as well as off it.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Stephen HENDERSON
RB: Greg HALFORD
CB: Jason PEARCE
CB: Ricardo ROCHA
LB: Joe MATTOCK
DM: George THORNE
DM: Hayden MULLINS
RM: Joel WARD
CM: David NORRIS
LM: Erik HUSEKLEPP
CF: Dave KITSON
GK: Joe MURPHY
RB: Cyrus CHRISTIE
CB: Martin CRANIE
CB: Andy KEOGH
LB: Chris HUSSEY
DM: Sammy CLINGAN
CM: Conor THOMAS
CM: Gael BIGIRIMANA
AM: Craig GARDNER
CF: Lucas JUTKIEWICZ
CF: Clive PLATT
Last Time: Portsmouth 0 Coventry City 3 (Championship - 12/04/2011)
In one of the worst Pompey matches I can ever remember, Marlon King gave the Sky Blues the lead with a penalty after Rocha brought down Gary McSheffrey in the box.
McSheffrey then doubled the visitors' lead with an easy header in the second half and the misery was compounded when Hayden Mullins was sent off for deliberate handball in the box, with King converting his second spot kick of the night.
This was Coventry's last victory away from home, let's hope they don't repeat the feat tomorrow.
There can't be any excuses tomorrow. Coventry are a poor team who are struggling even more than we are and have their own problems off the pitch too. I have sympathy for their fans but tomorrow's game is one we simply have to win and I think we will.
Portsmouth 2 Coventry City 0
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