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Portsmouth v City preview

Given the absence of any other Premier League fixtures this weekend, victory at Fratton Park will see us move up to seventh position in the table - surely putting an end to the talk of relegation bandied about so often in the media so far this season.

Portsmouth have yet to appoint a new manager to replace Tony Adams (although intriguingly Sven has been linked), but the shot in the arm a change at the helm brings is still likely, and something we will need to guard against.

On the field as well, Portsmouth are in a mess at present with a wretched run of form of just two wins (and eleven points) from the past sixteen games Premier League games, and fare badly against us in recent times (including the 6-0 romp earlier this season).

The Stoke setback aside, results have been positive of late for ourselves, with the performances at least consistent if not spectacular. Team wise, I wouldn't expect many changes with the only real question as to who will replace the suspended Shaun Wright-Phillips (Jack throws a few possibilities around here).

Hughes has been effusive in his praise of Elano in recent days, praising the patience he has shown and I wonder if he is tempted to go with the 'hot hand' following his performance for Brazil in midweek which will surely have lifted his confidence. This would likely see us line up
with a 4-2-3-1 formation which would make sense given Hughes's comments regarding adopting a positive approach to end the run of poor form on our travels.

Ordinarily, I would be fairly confident of us taking all three points tomorrow but there is a little of the unknown given Portsmouth's current position. Having said that, we do look to be gelling well with our January additions and if we can maintain a focus on our performance then we should be good for the victory.

Prediction: I'll back us for a 2-0 victory.