Portsmouth v Man City preview
City aim to make Pompey pay
By Ben Collins. Last Updated: 13/02/09 11:23am
James: Record breaker
Manchester City will be hoping to capitalise on the recent upheaval at Portsmouth as they visit Fratton Park on Saturday.
Pompey sacked manager Tony Adams this week after just 106 days in charge, in which he steered them to just four wins in 22 games.
The former Arsenal captain struggled to continue the good work of previous boss Harry Redknapp, who led Pompey to their first FA Cup triumph in 69 years last season.
The cup holders were dumped out in the fourth round, though, after a 2-0 home defeat by Swansea last month, while Adams was targeted by some Pompey fans after the 3-1 loss at Fulham.
The final straw proved to be last week's 3-2 home defeat by Liverpool, when Pompey led 2-1 with just five minutes left, and chief executive Peter Storrie acted in time for the rearranged league clash with City.
Academy director Paul Hart has been placed in temporary charge while Brian Kidd has been brought in as Hart's assistant, with ex-City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson and former Chelsea manager Avram Grant being strongly linked with the permanent position.
Hart could recall Jermaine Pennant after the on-loan Liverpool winger sat out last Saturday's defeat by the Reds while midfielder Niko Kranjcar could also return after coming off the bench against Liverpool.
Pompey goalkeeper David James will overtake Gary Speed's Premier League appearance record of 535 having also played for Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham and City in the top flight.
Hart's options have also been boosted by the return to fitness of Armand Traore (thigh), Marc Wilson (hip) and Younes Kaboul (ankle), although Papa Bouba Diop (knee), Richard Hughes (hamstring) and reserve goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown (ankle) are still out.
But while Pompey have gone nine league games without a win, City are looking for their first away victory in the league since August.
The Blues are also without Shaun Wright-Phillips after he was handed a three-match ban by the FA for retaliation during the recent defeat at Stoke, when Rory Delap was shown a straight red card for kicking the ball at the grounded England winger.
That has opened the door for Elano to return to the starting line-up after being linked with a move away from Eastlands during the transfer window.
The playmaker has had limited first-team opportunities this season but scored in Brazil's 2-0 friendly win over Italy on Tuesday after combining well with City team-mate Robinho, who claimed the second at the Emirates Stadium with a well-taken strike.
New City striker Craig Bellamy scored twice in West Ham's 4-1 win at Fratton Park on Boxing Day and has scored two match-winners in his first three games for the Blues.
City skipper Richard Dunne continues his four-match ban, while Daniel Sturridge, Benjani, Martin Petrov and Valeri Bojinov remain sidelined.
Possible starting XIs
Portsmouth James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Pennant, Davis, Kranjcar, Belhadj, Crouch, Nugent.
Man City Given, Richards, Kompany, Onuoha, Bridge, Elano, De Jong, Zabaleta, Ireland, Bellamy, Robinho.
Barclays Premier League
|7||West Ham United||22||36|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||22||22|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||22||19|