Blues' eyes look north
By Site reporter
Friday 15 May 2009 21:43:00
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Pompey fans will be hoping a couple of Fratton old boys take the pressure off their old team by securing their Premier League survival on Saturday afternoon.

If either Hull or Newcastle lose their respective games, it means Pompey can breathe easy in the knowledge they are staying up even if they lose their final two games.

But if both the Tigers and the Magpies take a point or three away to Bolton and at home to Fulham respectively, the Blues will need to get something against the Black Cats to avoid taking the battle to survive to what would be a very nervy last day.

Both rivals are currently four points behind Pompey, so whatever happens, a win at home to Sunderland in Fratton’s final match of 2008-09 will finish the job for Paul Hart and Co.

Newcastle’s goal difference, at -17, is three better than Pompey’s -20, while Hull’s -24 is four worse.

If it were to come down to goal difference being equal and placings decided on goals scored, Pompey’s tally of 35 is currently the worst of the three – Hull have scored 38, Newcastle 40.

But Saturday will see all eyes on the Reebok and St James’ Park.

Matt Taylor is a certain starter for the Trotters against Hull, three years after his goals – and in particular two penalties in three games – kept Pompey up at the end of the Great Escape run of 20 points from the final 10 games.

Andy O’Brien, another who featured for Pompey in that famous escape from relegation in 2006, is also likely to be in the Bolton 16.

Another former Blue who could do the trick for Pompey is Diomansy Kamara, who heads to Newcastle with Fulham on the back of a match-winning performance, inclusing two goals, against Aston Villa last week. Kamara got a couple of crucial goals as Pompey staved off the threat of the drop with a bit more to spare in 2005.

Fulham are in pole position for seventh place, but have three clubs ready to pounce if they slip up, so they have plenty to play for against a Toon side with renewed confidence following Monday’s win over Middlesbrough.

Hull’s opponents Bolton have little to play for apart from pride and a few quid for a higher-placed finish.

This weekend’s other crucial relegation games see Middlesbrough host Aston Villa on Saturday and West Brom entertain Liverpool on Sunday.

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