With the school holidays upon us and the promise of some decent weather a trip down to the South Coast seems quite fitting at this time of the year. With a successful ‘behind closed doors’ meeting with Wycombe Wanderers resulting in a 3-0 win with goals from Nando, Yossi and young Slobodan Rajkovic, AVB must be relishing a trip to a club that seems to have spent most of the last couple of seasons lurching from one financial crisis to the next. Just how much the new Boss learnt from the Wycombe game remains to be seen as he virtually played two different teams before and after half time. However don’t expect anything different on Saturday as players seek match fitness and AVB gets to know what formation and what combinations work. With the ‘Bison’ injured AVB must now be looking for midfield reinforcements or players to set up from the reserves so don’t be surprised to see Clifford, McEachran and a couple of other youngsters playing on Saturday. However with rumours growing by the day, don’t count against a new face being in the team. AVB said that everyone at the club would be given the chance to show their capabilities and this game might be some player’s last chance to impress the Boss. This should however make for a better game than the normal preseason fare. Having been at Selhurst Park last season to see a Chelsea team minus many of our World Cup players play a hugely boring match, it will be interesting to see a virtual full strength side play Portsmouth.
So what can we expect from ‘Pompey’? Having been a team full of internationals a couple of seasons back, the intervention of the Tax Man has reduced this once great club to a bit of a mess. So who can we expect to see up against us on Saturday? Well to be honest the club is now full of journeymen rather than the team under ‘Arry’, which had household names. Other then Kanu (the lucky hat-trick scorer) the team is probably unknown to all but hardened Championship ‘anoraks’. Dave Kitson played at Reading, Herman Hreidarsson at Palace and Hayden Mullins at Championship new boys (snigger) West Ham. Other than that it’s all a bit ‘lower league’. However Pompey manager Steve Cotterill is renowned for getting his teams to battle hard so the game won’t be a walkover under any circumstances. Pompey have already played one friendly beating Havant and Waterlooville 4-0 earlier in the week.
For those of you attending the game, Fratton Park is a bit of a ‘curate’s egg’, good in parts. For those travelling from London enjoy the A3 if you are driving or the regular trains from Waterloo if you fancy a beer. Parking isn’t great near the ground so be prepared for a bit of a walk.
For those of you not able to travel the game is live on Chelsea TV with a build up available to non subscribers.