Brighton v Pompey: Who is favourite to win battle of the weakened teams?
By Site reporter
Thursday 06 Jan 2011 21:02:00
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The home team are flying in League One, which they have topped since early in the season. The visitors are shipping goals in the division below like they're going out of fashion. So Pompey's FA Cup third-round visit to Brighton on Saturday has the ingredients for an upset.

But still opinion seems divided on who are favourites to progress to the fourth round. Brighton boss Gus Poyet says Albion are the underdogs - ex-Pompey and Brighton stopper Guy Butters reckons the Seagulls can soar into the next round. Just to confuse matters further, there have even been suggestions Brighton may play a weakened team because they are desperate for promotion and don't really want a Cup run.


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Butters knows both clubs well and said: 'It will be a really good game. Portsmouth are struggling a bit at the moment and Brighton are flying. There aren’t many league places between the sides now. I know Brighton had a bit of a blip but they have come into form at the right time.

'Portsmouth had a poor Christmas. They have players who they can’t use because of their contracts and they looked fragile at Watford the other day. This is a good time to catch them.'

Poyet points to the fact it was not so long ago Pompey - including a number of the squad who will head east along the coast on Saturday - were plying their trade in the Premier League while the Seagulls battled against relegation from League One.

Brighton left out a few key players in rounds one and two against non-league sides Woking and FC United of Manchester and were nearly caught out each time, and with the move to their new Amex Stadium at Falmer imminent, promotion to the Championship is their priority. But Poyet insists this is a game his team want to win.

Pompey may struggle to put together a squad of 18 for Saturday. There'll be no Richard Hughes nor Michael Brown because of their contract disputes, while Ricardo Rocha faces a fortnight out injured and Greg Halford's ban for his red card at Watford kicks in this weekend after his appeal failed.

That means Nadir Ciftci and Tom Kilbey could again be involved, with Joel Ward among the contenders for a role in midfield.

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