Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
By: Richard Lord
BLUNDELL Park has never been a happy hunting ground for Portsmouth. The last time they took anything away from Grimsby was when they earned a 1-1 draw back in November 1998.
The Mariners will be hoping that Pompey's record in Cleethorpes remains poor. However, that case seems unlikely, as the south coast side have begun the season in stylish form.
They are one of four clubs near the top of the table with 10 points after just four games. Town are currently fourth from bottom with two points, one goal and no win. But football's a funny old game.
Portsmouth began last season in much the same manner, but it rapidly went downhill and they eventually concluded last season well in the bottom half. Robert Prosinecki has since left the club, as has Peter Crouch - now at Villa with Boulding.
Pompey chairman Milan Mandaric wants Premiership football, and he will be hoping that experienced manager Harry Redknapp will be the one to guide the club to the money-driven Promised Land.
The Chairman has not been scared to hand Redknapp a huge transfer kitty, with which he has been able to persuade players like Gianluca Festa, Paul Merson and Shaka Hislop to the club.
In contrast, it looks as though Alan Pouton will be missing for the third consecutive match, and is joined by Steve Livingstone, Robert Taylor and Stevie Croudson on the sidelines.
Loan signing Steven Kabba is an early doubt for the clash and his progress will be closely monitored. With two games in three games, manager Paul Groves would have been hoping for very few injuries.
Expected Line Ups:
(Grimsby): Coyne, McDermott, Gallimore, Groves, Chettle, Cooke, Barnard, Campbell, Coldicott, Kabba, Rowan
Subs: Hughes, Ford, Bolder, Jevons, Robinson
(Portsmouth): Hislop, Festa, De Zeeuw, Foxe, Crowe, Taylor, Merson, Quashie, Hughes, Todorov, Burton
Subs: Kawaguchi, Primus, Robinson, O'Neil, Burchill
Last Time Out:
This fixture was Paul Groves' first in charge after Lennie Lawrence had been sacked. Playing a relatively untried 5-3-2 formation, Jevons scored a brace to seal a 3-1 win but the Mariners had to come from behind to get the points. Peter Crouch had given Portsmouth the lead on the half hour mark before Jevons stabbed in the equaliser after a Kawaguchi mistake. Then just minutes later youngster Simon Ford nodded in his first for the club after another mistake from the Pompey keeper. Jevons notched the third from the penalty spot when Prosinecki upended Chapman inside the area. Report
Paul Merson (left) - He may be aging, but he's wearing well. He knows all the tricks from his prolonged career in the top flight of English football and will be running the show in midfield. He has the necessary skills to work around Town's makeshift midfield paring of Campbell and Coldicott and Merson's delivery from set pieces will require special attention.
Fishy Prediction: 2-1 to Portsmouth
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