Date:Friday January 9 2009
Saturday 10th January 2009
With 1 point between the stuttering sides and only a couple of points off of the relegation zone, the game is a must win for both teams.
Mark Hughes talks about the game: 'We are a bit light with the injuries we have at the moment.
'Fratton Park is always a difficult place to go. They are having a little bit of a difficult time themselves at the moment and they will be looking to turn their season around.
'We have to make sure we are up for the challenge.'
After the degrading FA Cup upset at home to Nottingham Forest, Vassell's earings and a host of players with the axe looming over their futures, City is in turmoil and need to turn things around fast.
Diminutive winger Shaun Wright-Phillips has a hamstring strain, Stephen Ireland is banned for picking up 5 yellow cards and City's record breaking summer signing Robinho could also miss out after picking up a thigh injury.
Wayne Bridge will start his first game after being cleared to play.
Expect Bridge to be out to prove to everyone what a good player he really is. Time spent on the bench at Chelsea shouldn't go against him - Shaun Wright-Phillips spent most of his time sitting with him and is arguably back to his best.
With the departure of Jermaine Defoe and Tony Adams facing a potential mass exodus, Portsmouth may find that like City, lack of motivation is their downfall.
Defender Glen Johnson is back in the side after he missed the last six matches with an ankle injury. Niko Kranjcar is also back into the fold.
Experienced midfielder Papa Bouba Diop joins Richard Hughes and Jerome Thomas on the injury list and is expected to be out of action for around three months.
Making his 50th Premier League start in Pompey colours, Kranjcar is back in the shaky looking Portsmouth midfield to add some attacking flair.
Expect Dunne and Richards to have a tough game.
The last time City did the double over Portsmouth was back in 2004/2005.
33 goals in 11 Premier League meetings is an average of 3 goals per game. Expect goals.
Portsmouth are looking to end the leagues longest current losing run of four matches.
Mike Dean - refereed the 2008 FA Cup Final at Wembley between Portsmouth and Cardiff City, the importance of this game is almost as great. So far Dean has pulled out 79 yellow cards and 8 reds... 3 of those were brandished in the Tottenham loss earlier this season. Lets hope they stay in his pocket on this occassion.
This game will be won by the team which wants to win the most. After hitting Portsmouth for 6 earlier in the season I can see City edging it on confidence. Portsmouth won't be embarrassed again so I expect a tighter game - especially if you take into consideration that our key strike force is missing. Pompy 1 - 2 MCFC.
Wigan at home on Saturday 17th January with a 3pm kick off.
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Date:Friday January 9 2009
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