Portsmouth’s fortunes have changed drastically in the last two seasons and Harry Redknapp is the man responsible for it.
Portsmouth have strengthened their squad this summer but I feel that they are one or two quality signings away from being genuine European contenders. The ‘second’ season after a good performance is always tough (Everton, West Ham, Wigan) and you need a quality squad to deal with it (Tottenham) as well as luck with injuries (Newcastle).
I’m looking forward to seeing who Harry signs for Portsmouth in the next 3 weeks – it could mean the difference between 10th spot and 7th.
Manager Status: Harry’s Houdini act of 2005/2006 was bettered by his strong leadership of Portsmouth last season, and he’s best placed to lead Portsmouth to another top-10 finish.
Transfer Analysis: Nugent, Distin and Muntari are good signings, and Harry’s worked hard at added depth to his squad. You get the feeling that Portsmouth might move for a couple of more players at the close of the transfer season – with Harry you expect it.
Players to watch: Nugent – he’s a gamble at 6m but if he shines (and there’s a good chance he will) then Portsmouth will be a tough team to beat.
August Fixtures: Derby away, Manchester United and Bolton home before the 3 games against Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. It’s a very tough start for Portsmouth but you’d expect them to play for 7 points from their first 3 games and then take it from there.
Expectations: Another top-10 finish.
Predictions: Strong candidates for a top-half (5th-8th) finish, but I think they’ll slip a bit and end up mid-table (9th-15th).