Portsmouth, play Steve Bruces’ Wigan Athletic in the Premier League at Fratton Park on Saturday.
After the shock departure of manager Harry Redknapp to Spurs last weekend, new Pompey boss Tony Adams will have taken some positives from the 1-0 defeat to Premiership pacesetters Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday, with Portsmouth having some bright spells against the Reds. However, the South coast club have not won in their last three-matches, with Portsmouth’s last win the 2-1 victory over Stoke City at the beginning of the month. This run has seen Pompey drift off the pace and are now 7th in the Premier League, with former Arsenal legend Adams eager to get his first win as a Premiership manager under his belt at the second time of asking.
Latics manager Steve Bruce desperately needs to start picking up points, with Wigan only taking three points from the last five-games, which was the 2-1 win against Manchester City at the JJB Stadium before the International break. Wigan, have only scored twice in their last four matches and conceded ten, which has subsequently see them slip into the relegation zone. Bruce will want more of a contribution in the way of goals from players like Emile Heskey and Wilson Palacios, with on loan striker Amr Zaki scoring 7 out of 11 Wigan goals in the Premiership, but will take heart that the Latics have been more free-scoring on their travels than at the JJB so far this season.
Portsmouth will be without fringe players David Nugent (groin) and Glen Little (hamstring), but former Chelsea defender Glen Johnson could return to face Wigan if he recovers from a groin strain in time.
England International Jermain Defoe, who was only on the bench for Adams’ first game in charge against Liverpool, could be set for a recall, with Adams insisting that he rested Defoe and had not dropped the former Tottenham player.
“Defoe wasn't dropped, of course not. I will make tactical decisions, technical decisions and emotional decisions. This time it was a tactical one,” Adams said.
“Jermain took it fine, he is 100 per cent behind me. I have had great support from everybody, but particularly from Defoe.
“I am a big fan of Defoe, maybe it was crazy to keep him on the bench for so long, but next time out it will be different.
“Next time it may be Crouch left out, who knows. We have Wigan at home on Saturday and maybe they will both play.”
Bruce has no fresh injury worries after the midweek defeat to Fulham, with a fully fit squad to choose from for the trip to Fratton Park, with defender Erik Edman possibly available after a lengthy spell on the sidelines at the JJB, with a knee injury. England International Emile Heskey is likely to partner Zaki upfront for the Latics.
Portsmouth: (from) James, Johnson, Distin, Campbell, Belhadj, Kranjcar, Utaka, Diarra, Defoe, Crouch, Kaboul, Lauren, Hreidarsson, Diop, Thomas, Pamarot, Mvuemba, Ashdown, Hughes, Duffy, Sahar, Kanu, Davis, A Traore, D Traore, Wilson
Wigan Athletic: (from) Kirkland, Scharner, Taylor, Edman, Cattermole, Palacios, Kilbane, Heskey, Koumas, Brown, Pollitt, Zaki, Valencia, de Ridder, Bramble, Cywka, Kingson, Kapo, Melchiot, Camara, Kupisz, Figueroa