Swindon vs Portsmouth Preview
Can 2013 get off to a winning start for Pompey?
Portsmouth begin 2013 with a difficult trip to the County Ground to take on high-flying Swindon Town.
Izale McLeod has left Portsmouth by mutual consent but new signing David Connolly is set to make his debut as Paul Benson cannot play against his parent club.
Jon Harley should return to the defence after serving a suspension but Gabor Gyepes is still out whilst there are doubts over Ricardo Rocha's fitness after he limped off during the defeat to Yeovil.
Paolo Di Canio's side will be fresh having not played a game since December 21st due to postponements. He is likely to pick the same side that hammered Tranmere 5-0 in their last match.
2012 has come and gone and good riddance to it. In all honesty, I can't see 2013 starting much better but it would be great to see in the new year with a win, if only to lift spirits.
The half-time whistle on Saturday may well have been the turning point in Pompey's season. With the now departed McLeod and desperately disappointing Howard dropped, the team played with energy and enthusiasm and should have got something from the game.
We can only hope that Guy Whittingham and Andy Awford use that second half display as a catalyst for a good performance and stick with the same team (bar the ineligible Benson) that finished the Yeovil game.
If this Pompey team can reproduce that kind of performance and effort tomorrow then there may be some hope of getting a result at the County Ground, though it will be difficult.
The Robins are probably the best side I've seen play against Pompey this season and are full of attacking threat, especially that of Matt Ritchie who will look to score against his boyhood club once again.
But who knows? The fight shown in that second half against Yeovil has given us a glimmer of hope. If Howard remains dropped, Williamson plays in the centre and Walker can feed the strikers then a repeat performance may well see Pompey upset the odds.
Happy New Year! Or should that be "Happy New Year?"
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Wes FODERINGHAM
RB: Nathan THOMPSON
CB: Joe DEVERA
CB: Darren WARD
LB: Alan McCORMACK
RM: Matt RITCHIE
CM: Simon FERRY
CM: Danny HOLLANDS
LM: Raffaele DE VITA
CF: Andy WILLIAMS
CF: Chris MARTIN
GK: Simon EASTWOOD
RB: Mustapha DUMBUYA
CB: Ricardo ROCHA
CB: Lubomir MICHALIK
LB: Jon HARLEY
CM: Darel RUSSELL
CM: Lee WILLIAMSON
CM: Liam WALKER
RWF: Ashley HARRIS
LWF: Scott ALLAN
CF: David CONNOLLY
Last Time: Swindon Town 1 Portsmouth 1 (Division One - 26/12/1999)
Steve Claridge scored to earn a draw for Pompey after the home side took the lead in the first half through Chris Hay in this Boxing Day encounter.
There will be plentiful support for Pompey in Wiltshire tomorrow and there is hope of a result. But realistically a fresh, in-form Swindon side should have too much for the Blues.
Swindon Town 3 Portsmouth 1
Source: Fratton Faithful
Related Portsmouth News