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Portsmouth preview

When and where:
Wednesday August 23rd, City of Manchester Stadium

Current form:
Contrasting fortunes for both sides on the opening weekend with new-look Pompey sealing an impressive 3-0 win at home to Blackburn, whilst we fell by the same scoreline at Chelsea. Difficult to place too great an emphasis on those results as home advantage should see the balance swing our way.

Team news:
For City, Bernardo Corradi is definitely out through suspension with Darius Vassell likely to replace him. Andrew Cole and Didi Hamman are not expected to be fit enough to start, whilst Hatem Trabelsi probably won't make it despite his clearance coming through. Portsmouth are expected to be unchanged from Saturday, although Kanu may press his claims for a starting role.

Keys to the game:
For me the key is how well we can respond from Sunday. It is the opening home game with an expectant crowd so a good early start to the game will set us up well. Portsmouth have not won at City for some time so the onus is on us to come out flying.

City link:
David James makes an early return to the club, and wasn't 100% complimentary about the club - although this may have been provoked by Stuart Pearce's claim that in Andreas Isaksson we had a 'better keeper'. His form was superb throughout his time at City and he will look to continue that in this fixture.

Why City will win:
The side will be keen to make amends for the opening day defeat. Home advantage will count for a lot and a strong performance in the opening half-hour will seal the game.

Why City will lose:
Portsmouth will be buoyed by their opening day victory and will take a lot of confidence into the fixture. If they keep it level at half-time they will feel they are in with a good shout of taking all three points.

City 2 Portsmouth 1