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Portsmouth vs Walsall Preview
Can Pompey build on their winning run?
Pompey take on Walsall at Fratton Park tomorrow as the battle for the club between Portpin and the Supporters' Trust continues.
New signing Lubor Michalik may start for Pompey as a replacement for Gabor Gyepes who limped off at Crawley on Saturday. Jordan Obita serves the final game of his three-match ban but Mustapha Dumbuya returns from international duty, having sat on the bench last weekend.
Walsall manager Dean Smith may stick with the same side that beat MK Dons last Saturday, although Northern Irish international Will Grigg is vying for his place back in the side after international duty.
There hasn't been much talk about this game as Trevor Birch has now received bids from Portpin and the PST for Portsmouth Football Club and must now decide which bid is best for creditors and the club's long-term future.
Unsurprisingly to many, Sulaiman Al-Fahim was unable to bid for the club because those dastardly UK banks wouldn't allow him to deposit any money into their accounts until Tuesday. So he, thankfully, is out of the running.
Returning to the matter of the game tomorrow, and Walsall have been one of the surprise packages of the season so far. Whilst an opening day thrashing at home to Doncaster suggested that the Saddlers would be doomed this season, they have since been unbeaten in the league and will be a stern test tomorrow.
Despite Pompey's win over Crawley, I am still yet to be convinced that this team currently has what it takes to put a run of results together. Whilst it was eleven against eleven (and indeed ten) on Sunday, Pompey never looked like scoring.
I also wonder just how many of Pompey's players will be extending their contracts after the majority of them expire after the match tomorrow. Michael Appleton is confident that they'll all re-sign but you can never be sure with this club, can you?
The Saddlers apparently play some good football so hopefully we will see a far more entertaining game than the Oldham debacle a fortnight ago.
But more importantly we need to keep the winning run going so the club can end the day on effectively -2 points and boost survival hopes on the pitch whilst PKF can boost survival hopes off the pitch by making the right decision.
Click here for the pre-match interview with Saddlers fan Dan McCarthy.
Click here for the League One Lowdown on Walsall.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Mikkel ANDERSEN
RB: Mustapha DUMBUYA
CB: Lubor MICHALIK
CB: Josh THOMPSON
LB: Jon HARLEY
RM: Lee WILLIAMSON
CM: Darel RUSSELL
CM: Brian HOWARD
LM: Jack COMPTON
CF: Izale McLEOD
CF: Luke RODGERS
GK: David GROF
RB: Ben PURKISS
CB: Andy BUTLER
CB: Dean HOLDEN
LB: Andy TAYLOR
RM: Jamie PATERSON
CM: Nicky FEATHERSTONE
CM: James BAXENDALE
CM: Florent CUVELIER
LM: Ashley HEMMINGS
CF: George BOWERMAN
Last Time: Portsmouth 3 Walsall 2 (Division One - 30/11/2002)
Walsall took the lead when David Sonner scored from the spot after Paul Ritchie had taken out Steve Corica in the box. Pompey eventually drew level right before half-time courtesy of Nigel Quashie's strike.
Svetoslav Todorov headed the hosts in front but another penalty was scored by Sonner after he was brought down by Jason Crowe. The winner was scored by Matt Taylor from close range in a game full of yellow cards.
Walsall are not to be underestimated whilst I believe some of our fans are making too much of a fortunate win last Sunday. This will be a draw.
Portsmouth 1 Walsall 1
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