Pompey out to prove themselves to Blackpool ... and the world
By Site reporter
Friday 10 Feb 2012 21:37:00
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Pompey must be the only football club who have a siege mentality more often than the local armed police unit and hostage negotiators.

That's the problem with picking up threats to your very survival like some others collect yellow cards - the backs-to-the-wall outlook has to begin to wear off after a while.

But so far the Blues are doing a pretty good job with the world, or what seems like it, against them, and a televised trip to Blackpool certainly gives them another chance to show that, whatever's happening off the field, on it they can still be a force to be reckoned with.

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You have to go back to November 1973 to fnd the last time Blackpool beat Pompey in any competition - though meetings have been rare in recent times.

Given that the two sides have each spent the past three decades hovering around and switching between the top three divisions, it's surprising they'd not met in the league between January 1981 and the Tangerines' September defeat at Fratton, when Erik Huseklepp's stunning late goal gave Pompey their second win of the season.

But the return game finds Ian Holloway's team in the play-off positions and dreaming of a second promotion to the Premier League in three seasons after their first attempt at the modern-day top division started so well and ended in such disappointment with last-day relegation.

Pompey head to Bloomfield Road - where they will again be backed by a larger following than they perhaps would be if the club were not in such imminent danger - on the back of an unfortunate late defeat at Birmingham, when their second-half display was something of a disappointment, coming so soon after their dominant display and victory at Peterborough.

Michael Appleton is looking forward to his team having the chance to show the world they're alive and kicking.

He said: ‘With the game being on Sky, it’s an opportunity to put all of the worries behind us, show the country that we are united and, whatever happens or whatever gets thrown at us over the next couple of months, show everyone that we are ready for a fight.

‘I looked all of the players in the eyes in the dressing room before training and probably got a bit aggressive myself. I’m certainly ready for a fight and I hope they all are, too. At the minute, everybody seems to be here for the fight.’

Like Birmingham a few days ago, Blackpool face Pompey while in great form. Their past six games have yielded 13 points and 15 goals scored. And they'll be out to avenge that Fratton defeat in a game from which they felt they deserved a point.

Pompey are likely to be unchanged from the team who started at St Andrews - as long as Tal Ben Haim recovers from a hamstring problem picked up at Birmingham. Aaron Mokoena and Adam Webster stand by to replace him in defence.

Huseklepp and Marko Futacs are likely to get the nod up front, leaving Dave Kitson and Benjani to warm the bench. There's still no return of injured pair David Norris and Luke Varney.

For Blackpool, Keith Southern remains Blackpool's only injured absentee after he sustained a gashed ankle a fortnight ago. Roman Bednar is available after missing the midweek FA Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday.

Our prediction: Blackpool 1 Pompey 1

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