Tuesday night big match preview

Portsmouth v West Ham United Tuesday, January 26, 7.45pm Fratton Park WEST HAM have the chance to complete their first double of the season next Tuesday night and, for the first time in a long time, you can t help feeling that they might just do it. Ports

Portsmouth v West Ham United

Tuesday, January 26, 7.45pm

Fratton Park

WEST HAM have the chance to complete their first double of the season next Tuesday night and, for the first time in a long time, you can't help feeling that they might just do it.


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Portsmouth's form might well have improved under Avram Grant, but they still sit bottom of the Premier League, five points behind the Hammers, but with a game in hand.

They are also the lowest scorers in the Premier League with just 18 goals in 20 games, while the absence of a number of key players will certainly not help their cause either.

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Goalkeeper David James is likely to miss out against his old club through injury, whilst Kevin-Prince Boateng, who was perhaps their most impressive player on show at Upton Park on Boxing Day, is also injured.

Added to that, they will also be without Aruna Dindane, Nadir Belhadj, Hassan Yeboa and Kanu who are all away at the African Cup of Nations.

It could have been worse, had Senegal and South Africa qualified Papa Bouba Diop and Aaron Mokoena would have been in Angola as well.

On the plus side for Pompey, Frederic Piquionne is the one to watch up front. He has scored six goals in all competitions this term and provides the nearest they have to a cutting edge.

Portsmouth have won as many games as West Ham this season, and three of those four have come at Fratton Park.

They have dispatched Wigan Athletic 4-0, Burnley 2-0 and, most impressively, Liverpool 2-0, so they will be confident of adding to that tally against a West Ham side who haven't won on the road since the opening day of the season at Wolves.

West Ham will point to their comfortable 2-0 victory over Pompey at Upton Park on Boxing Day, as well as their thumping 4-1 win at Fratton Park last term.

However, before that win, they hadn't left the south coast with the points since 1992 when Clive Allen scored the only goal of the game.

Portsmouth are still trying to recover from the loss of Peter Crouch, Glen Johnson and Nico Kranjcar in the summer, while an added bonus is that Grant's team will play Sunderland in the FA Cup on Saturday, while West Ham can continue preparation for this game.

With Carlton Cole set to return, and Scott Parker likely to be fit as well, West Ham will be approaching their first choice side.

And with new owners in the stand, surely they will take the opportunity to impress.

It won't be easy, but West Ham should just nick the points.

POSSIBLE TEAM: Begovic, Vanden Borre, Hreidarsson, Brown, Diop, Mokoena, Mul-lins, Utaka, Wilson, Piquionne, Smith.

Prediction:

Portsmouth 1 West Ham 2

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