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Portsmouth vs Middlesbrough Preview

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11 Mar 2011 16:13:58

Portsmouth vs Middlesbrough Preview

Will Pompey bounce back from midweek defeat? Pompey hope to get back to winning ways tomorrow when they take on struggling Middlesbrough at Fratton Park.Team NewsSteve Cotterill has no new injury concerns and is likely to field an unchanged side after the good performance at Ashton Gate on Tuesday. Liam Lawrence is still out with a calf problem.Tony Mowbray is also likely to name an unchanged side from the team that beat Derby on Tuesday, though defender Joe Bennett will wear a protective cast after chipping a bone in his wrist.The MatchFootball can be a strange game. After beating Sheffield United following a quite dismal performance on Saturday, Pompey followed that with a good performance against Bristol City only to see the winning run and clean sheet record disappear.With that record gone, and realistic hopes of finishing in the top six went with it and so now I simply hope for an entertaining game tomorrow that will be worth the entrance fee.This should be a good game to watch too as Middlesbrough have scored and conceded plenty of goals on the road this season, with Leroy Lita in great goalscoring form recently so he'll be one to watch.If we can repeat our performance against Bristol City tomorrow then I'm confident that we can beat a brittle Boro but a repeat of the Blades performance could see us fall to a shock defeat.The result isn't so important now that we're virtually safe from relegation, but a top half finish is still attainable and would represent an excellent season for Portsmouth FC given the trials and tribulations of last year.Predicted Starting Line-UpsPompeyGK: Jamie ASHDOWNRB: Ritchie DE LAETCB: Greg HALFORDCB: Ricardo ROCHALB: Hermann HREIDARSSONDM: Jonathan HOGGDM: Hayden MULLINSRM: David COTTERILLCM: Joel WARDLM: David NUGENTCF: Dave KITSONMiddlesbroughGK: Paul SMITHRB: Tony McMAHONCB: Rhys WILLIAMSCB: Andrew DAVIESLB: Joseph BENNETTRM: Seb HINESCM: Barry ROBSONCM: Richard SMALLWOODLM: Nicky BAILEYCF: Leroy LITACF: Scott McDONALDLast Time: Portsmouth 2 Middlesbrough 1 (Premier League - 13/09/2008)Mido gave Boro the lead halfway into the first half and went into the break ahead before Jermain Defoe equalised after Crouch put him through on goal. Defoe then scored the winner four minutes from time with a neat volley.My PredictionNow that the clean sheet record is gone, I expect the shackles to come off and Boro's brittle backline to be taken advantage of. Lita will probably score but we should score more.Portsmouth 3 Middlesbrough 1


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