Some weeks it will be tough to pick out a Football League game, but this weekend there is little choice. A south coast derby with bitter rivalry and three precious points at stake when Southampton take on Portsmouth in the npower Championship tomorrow afternoon. Tasty.
The pair have avoided each other in recent seasons as both have bounced around the leagues. This may only be a fleeting encounter with Saints poised for a return to the promise land of the Premier League whilst Pompey may well be heading into League One after another points deduction.
Wins for Reading and West Ham today have seen Nigel Adkins’ team slip to second in the table just three points clear of third spot. So the first league trip to St. Mary’s Stadium for Portsmouth since November 2004 has just become all the more important.
A few weeks ago it looked like Michael Appleton’s side were doomed after struggling to pick up points following their ten point deduction as a result of more financial problems. However, recent big wins over promotion chasing Birmingham and Hull have seen Portsmouth move to within five points of safety. The last time out Burnley won 5-1 at Fratton Park so the bizarre nature of a south coast derby may have come at just the right time. It is a bit of cliché but form often does go out the window in matches like this so Pompey will fancy their chances to put a dent in their rivals’ promotion bid.
The rivals drew 1-1 at Fratton Park earlier this campaign whilst the last meeting at St Mary’s between the two ended with a thumping 4-1 win for Pompey in the FA Cup on their way to the final in 2010 so Southampton haven’t picked up the win in this match in the last three attempts.
Roll on 1pm tomorrow!