It's 266 and out for Pompey - but hopefully no-one will be out for Wembley
By Site reporter
Saturday 08 May 2010 22:13:00
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The 266th game, and for now the final one, of Pompey’s Premier League era – or should that be their first Premier League era, takes them into low-key action at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.

While football’s eyes and minds will largely be on events at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford, relatively few will take much interest in what happens between Everton and Pompey. All the Blues can hope is that they again perform with pride and perhaps sone form that will put them in good heart for Wembley, and don’t lose anyone to injury or suspension.


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Pompey can’t finish above 20th (though finishing within nine points of Hull and Burnley would at least mean we didn’t really finish bottom on the pitch) while David Moyes’ team can’t finish below or above eighth, their excellent second half of the season spoiled somewhat by some late slip-ups that have cost them the chance of another European campaign.

So this game has all the hallmarks of a real end-of-season affair. And anyone could forgive Pompey’s players for having next week’s visit to Wembley on their mind in a game from which they will be anxious to emerge unscathed.

In fairness to them, that desire hasn’t stopped them taking points off Wigan, Bolton and Wolves in three of their last four outings, so if the Toffees are hoping Pompey will stand aside and allow them to finish with a flourish, they will be disappointed.

Goodison has been a venue of mixed fortunes for Pompey down the years. Their previous six visits in the Premier have been a run of pretty dismal defeats broken up by two fairly-unexpected wins – courtesy of a Duncan Ferguson own goal in September 2005 and the Defoe, Johnson and Crouch show just 20 months ago (somehow it seems longer…).

Another of Pompey’s team of 2008, Sylvain Distin, will be in the Everton side as Pompey finally wave farewell to a league their fans have come to dislike quite severely – probably feeling a little jealousy at his former team gearing up for another Cup final and relief that he got out of Fratton when he did, which, for those who have forgotten, waas shortly after accepting the job of Fratton Park captain for 2009-10.

Avram Grant leads Pompey into battle for the final league game of the season still not knowing if he will still be in the manager’s chair come August. He said before departing for the north-west: 'I'm still waiting patiently to see what will happen at Portsmouth. But I know I'm a more clever man than when I came here.

'I don't want another season like this one. I like to create something. If the club has another season like this, there will be no football club. If things are good here the club has potential. We need to wait and see, though, what happens.

'The news of greater debt does not make my decision easier, but I have spoken with the administrator and he thinks we can start next season very well. I want to see the facts, though. It's not a secret that I love this club. What has happened this season is amazing.

'There has been a lot of passion and a lot of things that I like, but I want to know what will happen with this club. It needs to be sorted as soon as possible. We still have a little bit of time, but not much. The administrator wants everyone to know where we are going by the end of May. But I think we need to know the direction of the club before then. The new owner is a big part of this.’

Grant has also said the team who play at Everton will not be the same one who line up at Wembley. That is likely to mean further action for Lenny Sowah, Joel Ward and Matt Ritchie as a number of regulars are rested ahead of the final.

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