I’m not sure how many more times you’ll be able to lay Portsmouth at short prices this season but I’m certainly not going to stop doing so and they are worth opposing again this weekend.
Pompey face Stoke at Fratton Park on Saturday on the back of the club requesting to sell their stars to raise cash to survive and, while I’m not sure that affects those taking to the field too much, it is hardly ideal preparation.
Avram Grant’s men recorded a morale boosting 4-1 win over south coast rivals Southampton in the FA Cup last time out but we must not forget that the Saints are a League One side these days and Stoke will be a different test altogether.
The Potters very rarely fail to show their true colours, despite a far from convincing away record, and I think they’ll be good enough for at least a point.
As was the case when Sunderland left with a draw from Fratton Park, I’m more than willing to overlook that Stoke have scored just five goals on their travels all season. The fact those strikes have helped yield nine points indicates their resilience and another low scoring clash is on the cards.
Stoke’s last three fixtures in all competitions have all ended 1-1 and there was plenty to like about their efforts on their final start when holding Manchester City. Stoke played for half the match with ten men, following Abdoulaye Faye’s dismissal, but they were only denied the maximum haul by a late Gareth Barry leveller and they’ll have taken plenty of confidence from that result.
Tony Pullis’ side are one of just a handful in the Premier League that appear well clear of safety yet too far back to challenge for a European place but with the Welshman in charge they are unlikely to take their foot off the gas and will have been boosted by three consecutive matches unbeaten away from home in the top flight. >
I don’t imagine Stoke will have anything to fear this weekend on their travels, despite the absence of the influential Matthew Etherington, and were they to leave with a victory then it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise.
Portsmouth sit 15 points adrift of their opponents and quite how a team in such dire straits and with just three home wins to their name all season can be made clear favourites is beyond me. Again.
3pts Lay Portsmouth (vs. Stoke) @ 2.44 (Betfair)