Can Pompey build on their point well made?
By Site reporter
Friday 15 Feb 2013 18:06:00
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Right - let's see if we can preview a Pompey game without mentioning how many games they have played since they last won. It won't be easy, but we will try to look on the bright side as they prepare to welcome Carlisle to Fratton Park.

 

Guy Whittingham's team will have taken huge heart from their 0-0 draw at Hartlepool on Tuesday, which broke their long losing run. But now the acid test is to see whether they can build on it against a side higher up the table.

Carlisle are 16th in the table and haven't had the best of seasons but do have a 4-2 win over the Blues to their name - an early-season victory, that, at Brunton Park, when Pompey's line-up was unrecognisable from the one which will face them this weekend.

The threat if Pompey don't find their first win for a long time is that they'll be bottom - Hartlepool remain just one point behind the Blues and have been improving in recent weeks.

Defender Sam Sodje, who seems to be adapting to life in League One after a spell out of the game, had told Pompey fans the players are desperate to bring about some improved results and will lay their bodies on the line if that's what it takes.

Sodje told The News: ‘I know what the fans are going through but what they should bear in mind is the players are here for them. We are not here just to be a footballer and not care. I am not here for money.

‘I hate losing. I will put my neck on the line for them and do anything to win. I will play with all my heart and give them what they deserve and want. You can see from the characters of the people here they will do the same.

‘When you see the characters of them and get to know them, you see they want to play for the club. I’ve played at the highest level for my country and for Olympic teams. But this is what I am. I am not at Portsmouth just for my own good.

‘I play with my heart and hate losing. That’s what I will do for this club. I just hope we do something at home now because we are long overdue a good result for the fans there.’

Whittingham has no new injury worries and may stick largely with the side who battled to a point in midweek.

Pompey will give a late fitness test to striker David Connolly, who has been missing with a hamstring injury, but a place on the bench seems his best hope.

 

Carlisle may make changes after Tuesday night's 3-1 defeat by Scunthorpe United.

Whittingham said: 'Carlisle will give us a tough game, but they are all tough and we got beaten up there near the start of the season, so we know they will be a decent side.

'We've got nearly a completely different team (to the corresponding fixture). We're almost playing games like we would in pre-season where we are trying out formations to work out our best one. The difference is we are doing this during the middle of the season.

 

'We've got to make sure we remain competitive throughout it all and that is ultimately what we are trying to do.'

Carlisle's last visit to Fratton Park was in August 1985. Until this season the sides had met competitively once since then - in a 2009 cup tie that Pompey won in Cumbria.

Our prediction: Pompey 2 Carlisle 1

(There, a preview that didn't mention it was xxx games since Pompey's last win...)

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