Stoke City v Portsmouth
Saturday 21 February 2009,
Stoke City lost 2-0 away against Sunderland in their last league outing, to continue a run that has seen the Potters win only one match from their last eleven.
In their last five matches, Stoke have won one, drawn one and lost three, to earn four points from a potential fifteen on offer. They have scored 3 goals and conceded 7 in the process, as they currently sit 17th in the league.
Stoke will be without Andy Wilkinson (foot), Ricard Fuller (shoulder) and Ryan Shawcross (back), although Mamady Sidibe, Leon Cort, and Danny Higginbotham could all make a return from injury.
The Potters will also be without Rory Delap and Matthew Etherington due to suspensions from red cards.
Portsmouth defeated Manchester City 2-0 at home in their last league outing, to end a run of nine straight games without a victory.
In their last five matches, Portsmouth have won one, drawn one and lost three, earning four points from a possible fifteen. Pompey have put the ball in the back of the next six times and conceded eight times in these matches, as they currently sit 15th in the league.
Joe Hart has been acting as caretaker manager of Portsmouth after Tony Adams was sacked almost two weeks ago, and there has been much speculation as to who will take over as his replacement, with former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and former Chelsea manager Avram Grant amongst the rumoured names.
Portsmouth will have to do without Papa Bouba Diop (knee), Richard Hughes (hamstring) and Jerome Thomas (back), although Marc Wilson, Younes Kaboul and Armand Traore could be fit in time for the match.
Portsmouth defeated Stoke 2-1 earlier this season at Fratton Park. The set of circumstances for this match is different, in that it will feature two sides that, after a strong start to the season, have struggled greatly in recent times and are both faced with the threat of relegation.
Portsmouth showed promise after their win against Manchester City last week, and the shake-up in the managerial ranks could very well have given the squad the motivation it needs to begin performing well again.
Still, Pompey will be faced with a Stoke team that, although struggling as of late, have a very strong home record, having only lost 3 from 12 at Britannia Stadium all season. Furthermore, Portsmouth’s away form has been terrible of late, failing to win a single match of their last six on the road, and only picking up two victories away so far this season.
It is for this reason that Stoke will go into the match as very slight favourites. But with both teams having both weak and unpredictable form in recent matches, this match could easily end up as a draw or as a Portsmouth victory.
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