Blues are bolstered - but is it enough to down Town?
By Site reporter
Friday 10 Sep 2010 20:54:00
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Pompey will have a more solid and recognisable look about them as they return to action after a fortnight’s break to take on Ipswich at Fratton Park.

Ricardo Rocha, Dave Kitson and Kanu are all set to be in the 16, and Liam Lawrence will make his debut if his loan deal is signed and sealed by midday on Saturday. But will the new recruits be able to fire the Blues to their first league win of the season against a side who have won three of their first four?


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The signings made since Cardiff’s comfortable win at Fratton in Pompey’s last game have certainly boosted Steve Cotterill’s hopes of dragging his team up the table.

But only time will tell whether the new faces – who could yet be joined by one or two more loans in the next week or so – will turn Pompey into a team who can survive in the Championship, or perhaps even press for a place in the top half. No-one is mentioning the dreaded play-offs just yet, and rightly so.

As you’d expect, striker Kitson is talking up Pompey’s chances of making their form pick up – and his own chances of scoring the goals that will do the job.

He said: 'I'm looking forward to starting again. I was lucky at Reading to have a great team around me and we have some great players here. I always have confidence in myself to score goals.

'Looking at the squad of players we have here as well I think that's enhanced my confidence. I've been given an opportunity to play football again. I'm not going back. It's not for a loan and I will be here for the next three years.

'That's peace of mind and hopefully in those three years we can achieve things. If you look at some of the players still here and the fanbase, you have to be confident. I know this league like the back of my hand and I'm confident we can climb up the table.’

His former Stoke team-mate Lawrence may or may not be joining him for a Fratton debut against the Suffolk team.

As of Friday night, Lawrence had not yet been cleared to play. The cut-off point for him to be registered in time to face Ipswich is midday, and it would be a trifle embarrassing for Pompey if it didn’t happen – after all, until a few days ago everyone assumed he was a permanent signing anyway. Of course, where Pompey are concerned, any sort of assumption is damgerous.

Kanu’s re-signing for the Blues means he can get started on his fifth season with the club, though it is not expected he will start many games all the time David Nugent and Kitson are fit. Rocha is also likely to start in defence, with Ibrahima Sonko vulnerable but Cotterill also perhaps reviewing thoughts of using Rocha at right-back, a position Pompey don’t have another recognised player to fill.

And – shock horror – Pompey may even take the radical step of naming the maximum allowed number of subs, seven, this week.

Ipswich boss Roy Keane is playing a straight bat to the suggestion this should be an easy game for Town.

‘They have certainly had a difficult time - like a lot of clubs - particularly with the financial side of things and getting relegated,’ said Keane. ‘But they got to the FA Cup final last season so they've had their ups as well as their downs.

‘For any team that comes down from the Premier League it sometimes takes a while to adapt so don't take any notice of the table at this stage of the season. They have players with Premier League experience. They are a physically strong side and we will be in for a very difficult game.’

Our prediction: Pompey to nick it 2-1

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