All signs point to Pompey – Who else is nervous?By: Mark | March 5th, 2011
If results go their way Pompey could be as high as ninth in the Championship table by this evening, and they could have broken this season’s league record for longest period of time without conceding a goal.
Add to that the fact that Pompey have lost just twice in their last ten league games, have scored for the last 14 consecutive home matches, and are fifth in the division’s form table, behind clubs in and around the playoffs.
PLUS the fact that Sheffield United are yet to win under Micky Adams in twelve attempts, have lost three in a row, are bottom of the form table in the Championship and are currently on the longest winless run throughout the division.
You’d think then that Pompey confidence is high. But this is Pompey – usually the thing least likely to happen, happens.
Liam Lawrence is ruled out for the hosts, and Joel Ward is facing a big struggle to be fit for the game. Aaron Mokoena should continue to deputise for Hayden Mullins in midfield, who like Lawrence and Ward, is struggling with a calf problem.
For the visitors squad selection is far more of an issue – another plus point for the Blues.
Captain Chris Morgan is out for the season with knee ligament damage, defenders Andy Taylor and Ryan France are also long-term absentees and experienced ‘keeper Richard Wright is unavailable.
Sam Vokes, Joe Mattock and Nick Montgomery could shake off hamstring, ankle and knee problems respectively to feature after appearing at training throughout the week but Darius Henderson is still out.
Shane Lowry, on-loan from Aston Villa, had completed the final game of his suspension last Saturday but reacted badly to his dismissal and has been hit with a further game ban, ruling him out of the tie at Fratton today.
So all roads lead to Pompey, and all signs point to a sixth consecutive record-breaking win. But Sheffield United are a side fighting for their Championship lives, and rarely do the Blues make things easy on themselves.