Today’s game at Fratton Park has great meaning for both mangers, with Pompey looking to push onwards and upwards, and Bolton looking to kick start their season. The Wanderers have lost their first two games, while Portsmouth have pulled out two draws – one being an impressive 1 – 1 draw in a feisty battle with Manchester United.
When ‘Little Sam took over from ‘Big Sam at Bolton there were high hopes that he could finish what his predecessor had started, but it is not quite going to plan. Last weeks defeat by Newcastle was as emphatic as it was disappointing, with Bolton only really arriving at the party in the second half. As if to make matters worse, Sammy Lee is without the vital Kevin Davies (hamstring) and Ricardo Vaz Te (foot) who will blow a large hole in his hopes for the game.
While Bolton still have the irrepressible Anelka in the team, a man who can score for fun, there have been strong rumours (undenied) that his stay at the Reebok will soon be coming to a close, with a move to one of the premierships high profile shakers – who and when remains to be seen. If this does happen, it will leave Bolton seriously short of fire power and put a major dent in their hopes of retaining their premiership status.
Over at Pompey, the Redknapp magic continues to spread, although this season will see a little more pressure exerted on the old timer. Today’s game sees his squad down to the bare bones, with just 16 fit players available for selection. Of those injured, Sol Campbell and Dejan Stefanovic would seem to be the major absentees. While the Portsmouth team for today will not be Redknapp’s choice first eleven, it will still include the likes of Kanu, Mendes, Davis, Benjani and Nugent, players who can all change a game in an instant.
Redknapp has spent big in the pre-season transfer market and there are high hopes for the this season, a season which many hope will see Pompey push into the higher echelons of the premiership, and confirm there place amongst the elite of the division. While Redknapp seems to have been happier trawling the lower divisions and other leagues of the world for star players, he has seen a massive increase in his financial strength over the last few months – can he be as successful with money?
In a tough battle I fully expect the creativity of Portsmouth to outshine the braun of Bolton.
Forecast : Home Win