Pompey to pose tough test for City
Fratton Park, Pompey
28 September 2010
Is it too early in the season to be labelling this as a potential 'six-pointer'?
The league certainly suggests that, as both City and Pompey have suffered indifferent starts to season.
Pompey only gained their first win of the campaign against Leicester on Friday but were inspired by loan duo Dave Kitson - a genuine target for City in the summer - and Liam Lawrence.
Both players helped themselves to a brace and added quality to a squad previously low on confidence, which suggests now may be a bad time to play them.
We will have taken heart from shutting out high-flying Burnley at the weekend but will need another solid performance from former Pompey keeper David James if we're to come away with a result here.
Pompey's Steve Cotterill in a bouyant mood...
"The Leicester result means it gives us a start.
"We've not really had a starting point, so we have to take this on now against Bristol City.
"If we can start the game against City how we started against Leicester, we'll make it a difficult game for anybody."
City boss Keith Millen on Pompey...
"The reports suggested they were due to give a team a good hiding, but I think they were helped by the sending-off.
"They're a strong team and they have great support at Fratton Park. It should be a good atmosphere.
"We will need to face up against some talented players tomorrow. It's a good test, much like the Burnley one."
Portsmouth Team News:
Pompey will have to make do without midfielder Richard Hughes, who sits out the second match of a two-game ban.
Fellow midfielder Hayden Mullins hobbled out of the 6-1 demolition job on Leicester last Friday and is rated 50/50.
Player to watch: Liam Lawrence
This bottle blonde has always been a thorn in our side. Tonight's the first time he's played against us since playing in the Mansfield side that lost 5-4 all those years ago. He was at the heart of things back then and will be again tonight.
Bristol City Team News:
City have no new injury problems to contend with and should arrive on the South Coast full of hope after gaining an impressive 0-0 draw with Burnley at the weekend.
New signing Steven Caulker could make his debut after the defender signed on loan from Spurs over the weekend.
Player to watch: David James
Returning to his former club for the first time since his summer move from Fratton Park, James has divided opinion amongst City fans so far.
There can be no doubting the role he played in the 0-0 draw at Burnley on Saturday and he'll need to be on top form again to shut out Pompey array of Premiership strikers.
The Vital Statistics:
• This is the 50th competitive meeting between the two clubs. City lead the winning stakes 20-12 with 16 draws.
• Pompey knocked City out of last year's FA Cup, but have not managed a victory in the club's eight most recent league games against them.
• City's last visit to Fratton in the league was a 1-0 win in 1999 but that season was also a relegation season.
• Steve Cotterill's side have failed to score in five Championship games this term.
• City have one point and one goal from our last three league games but five of our six points this season have come away from home.
• David James faces the club he left in the summer for the first time.
• Six points after the first eight matches makes this our worst start for five seasons.
• City have fielded the most players in the Championship this term than (24).
• Liam Fontaine could make his 150th start for the club.
Graham Horwood (Bedfordshire)
Horwood started reffing at the age of 15 and reached the National list of assistant referees in 2001 after progressing through the South Midlands and Isthmian Leagues. He was promoted to the List of Panel referees in 2005 and the National List of referees in 2007, the year in which he refereed a Conference Play Off Semi-final.
POMPEY 2-0 CITY
Before their 6-1 thrashing of Leicester at the weekend, I'd have fancied our chances of getting something down there but, with their timely return to form, it will take something special from the boys tonight.
2 Oct: Norwich (H)
16 Oct: Cardiff (A)
19 Oct: Reading (H)