Date: 13th April 2007 at 9:01am
Written by:

Whittling down the last few fixtures and a near 700 mile trip to Fratton Park for a nothing game against a similarly placed mid-table club seems about as enticing as a night with Vanessa Feltz and her super-sized bingo wings. With England`s Michael Owen hysteria suitably building it`s up to the current squad to come up with an performance to show they`re not a one-man squad. Given Little Mickey is likely to get a runout against Chelski next weekend, as he continues his rehabilitation to be part of the first England team to play at the new Wembley, it’s a last chance for some to mark their territory in the side.

With millions still to play for in terms of Premier League placing money I`m a little gutted the likes of Andy Carroll won`t be getting a run out. Carroll has had a fantastic season for the reserves, capped by a goal against Man Utd in the week, and surely deserves more of a run than the token three minutes he`s been getting so far. With Dyer and Sibierski both struggling, the former with a suspect ‘Kieron hamstring ping` injury, why not give the lad a chance to play targetman for Oba on Saturday?

At the back the rumours are that Moore is coming back in. However I`d stick with the Gooch again. After all it`s these bread and butter games (like the Charlton one) rather than the Liverpool and Arsenal game that make up the majority of the fixture list. Give the lad a run against similarly placed outfits to see how he copes.

A loss would again see more rumours of Swedes coming to Gallowgate in the summer so the pressure is on Glenn to get us some prize money points ahead of what is likely to be a torrid game against the Rent Boys next weekend.

Roeder Defiant

Speaking ahead of the game the focus was more on the fall-out from yesterday’s Eriksson rumours:

“I’m so determined to bring success to Newcastle and I think that, like all businesses, the first couple of years are the hardest. You just have to get through them. I have to do that and hope that in two years’ time I will have survived and I will have my own squad.I’m working with other managers’ players – (Obafemi) Martins is mine, (Damien) Duff is mine and (Antoine) Sibierski is mine. We will get to the summer and the squad will have to be strengthened.

Then next year I’m happy to accept responsibility, I want to accept the responsibility for where Newcastle need to be. I have lots of experience of things in life. I used to think the newspapers were having a personal go at me. What I learned is that it’s not me, Glenn Roeder, it’s the job I hold. It doesn’t matter who is the manager of the football club, you are going to be criticised and you have to handle that.

Four years on, I am doing that so I did get something from the West Ham experience that has been positive for me. It’s never just a job. It’s too much of a responsibility to be given this chance. It’s never just a job, that’s simplifying it too much, that’s not giving the position the justice it deserves.’

Portsmouth Team News:

LuaLua has been cleared of wifebeating so he’ll be a happy chap. Campbell might be back, ditto Todorov, Lauren and Glenn Johnson.

Player to watch: Matty Taylor

A mainstay of my work Fantasy Football team, Taylor is reliable for an appearance in Match of the Day’s Goal of the Month section every season. This season is no exception, with a couple of belters amongst his 8 so far.

Newcastle Team News:

The revolving door at the physios has seen EMO, Moorecelino and Shola get pushed out and Shay and Parker hoyed in. There are also doubts over Dyer, Sibierski and Emre but these three are expected to make it.

So expect: Harper, Solano, Taylor, Gooch, Carr, Milner, Butt, Emre, N’Zogbia, Duff, Martins.

Player to watch: Damien Duff

Will he hide or will he come out and play? Answers on a postcard. Needless to say he needs to start clicking if he doesn’t want to end up with Jenas at Spurs or the dog walker on Wearside.

Us at Pompey in the Prem

2005/06: Drew 0-0
2004/05: Drew 1-1 (Dyer)
2003/04: Drew 1-1 (Bellamy)

Ref Watch:

Chris Foy – presided over the home losses to Fulham and the Carling Cup match v Chelsea.

Match Prediction:

A draw. Probably 0-0 so the papers can be full of David James stories.

Up Next?

The small matter of Chelsea, a week on Sunday, live on Sky.

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