Portsmouth match preview

Barclays Premier League
Boleyn Ground
Tuesday 8 April
Referee: Lee Probert

WHUTV - Pre-match press conference, plus live commentary to come
WESTHAM.WAP.COM - All the news, on the move


* West Ham United, tenth in the Barclays Premier League, welcome Portsmouth with the chance to move within six points of their sixth-placed visitors. A home victory would also take the club within two points of Manchester City in ninth.

* A win would also lift United seven points clear of Tottenham Hotspur in eleventh with just five fixtures remaining. Of those final games, three are at home and two are away.

* This fixture was originally scheduled for the weekend but was moved even before Portsmouth earned their FA Cup semi-final date against West Bromwich Albion at Wembley, which they won 1-0 thanks to Nwankwo Kanu's solitary strike.

* United have not played since their trip to Sunderland on 29 March. Alan Curbishley's men took the lead on 18 minutes through Freddie Ljungberg but Kenwyne Jones equalised before Andy Reid hit the winner in the sixth minute of added time.

* The clubs have met on two previous occasions in the Barclays Premier League at the Boleyn Ground and Portmouth have won both encounters. In fact, United have not won any of the last five meetings with the last win being a 2-0 home triumph in the old second division on 16 January 1993.

Last match

Sunderland 2-1 West Ham United (29 March): Green, Neill, Ferdinand, Spector, McCartney (Pantsil 46, Tomkins 74), Ljungberg, Parker, Mullins, Noble, Cole (Solano 65), Ashton
Subs not used: Walker, Boa Morte.
Goals: Ljungberg 18, Jones 29, Reid 90

West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Portsmouth (FA Cup semi-final, 5 April): James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Diarra, Diop, Muntari, Kranjcar, Kanu, Baros.
Subs not used: Ashdown, Lauren, Nugent, Davis, Pedro Mendes.
Goal: Kanu 54

Team news

* Freddie Sears (groin), Bobby Zamora (foot) have both been back in training since missing out on the trip to the Stadium of Light. Similarly, George McCartney and John Pantsil went off against Sunderland with hamstring trouble and concussion respectively but have also been in training.

* Matthew Upson has not played since suffering a calf strain at Liverpool on 5 March, having been an ever-present until then. Although he trained over the weekend, it is not certain that he will be involved. James Tomkins and Jonathan Spector have both had opportunities in his absence and are also in contention.

* Freddie Ljungberg sat out last week with the hamstring injury he picked up in the north-east but has had treatment and a positive scan. He could be in contention to face Bolton Wanderers - depending on his progress this week.

* Danny Gabbidon is working tirelessly to recover from his groin/abdominal problems but is not expected to play again this season.

* Fellow Welsh international Craig Bellamy is also on the way back from his surgery and there is a possibility he could return before the campaign ends but it is now unlikely his former Newcastle United team-mate Kieron Dyer will figure in the final six games after his double leg-break. He has recovered well but has some discomfort from where a pin was inserted and is working to overcome this.

* Lee Bowyer and Matthew Etherington have also had groin/abdominal injuries with the former recovering from surgery and targeting a return for pre-season training while the latter is running and building up to his own comeback. The manager confirmed on 29 March that Julien Faubert (calf) was also focusing on next season.

* Fellow midfielder Nigel Quashie is also looking to pre-season having started running again following foot surgery. He is on a straight-line running programme until the end of May when he can start multi-directional running and then move on to full training.

* Central defenders Calum Davenport and James Collins are also progressing well after their respective neck and knee injuries. Davenport has begun his rehabilitation training and the specialists are pleased with the progress of his fracture and confirmed no long-term effects. His target is to return for pre-season training. Collins also received a positive report after visiting his knee specialist last week. If all goes to plan, he could be running in six weeks and back playing by the end of August.

* For Portsmouth, Jermain Defoe will not face his former club having been given compassionate leave by the club to attend his grandmother's funeral. Milan Baros (ankle) and Lassana Diarra (dead leg) are both injury concerns while Hermann Hreidarsson (achilles) had worried Harry Redknapp before the FA Cup semi-final but he played the 90 minutes. Portsmouth's only other absentees are Noe Pamarot (knee) and John Utaka (hamstring).


* After 32 games last season, West Ham United were five points from safety and had just 29 points compared to the 44 they have achieved from the same number of matches this campaign.

* West Ham United and Portsmouth last met on 27 October 2007 at Fratton Park. After a closely-fought contest, Benjani spurned the chance to take all three points when Robert Green saved his added-time penalty.

The lineups were:

Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Utaka (Kanu 77), Diop, Pedro Mendes, Muntari, Kranjcar, Benjani
Subs not used: Ashdown, Lauren, Taylor, Pamarot,

West Ham United: Green, Neill, Gabbidon, Upson, McCartney, Solano (Spector 78), Noble, Mullins, Boa Morte, Bellamy (Etherington 46 ), Cole (Ferdinand 89)
Subs not used: Wright, Camara

* United's last home game against Portsmouth came on 26 December 2006 when Linvoy Primus scored in the 16th and 38th minutes for a 2-1 away victory. Teddy Sheringham hit an 81st-minute consolation.

* Last week's 2-1 defeat at Sunderland was the first time in 15 league matches this season when Curbishley's team had lost after taking the lead.

* Before Sunderland and since the 1-0 win at Fulham on 23 February, West Ham United had conceded first in each of the following five fixtures. In all of the games, the opening goal came inside the first 20 minutes. Ljungberg ended that run with his strike at the Stadium of Light - on 18 minutes.

* Green has kept eight clean sheets in 32 league games.

* McCartney is bidding to make his 39th appearance this season in all competitions. He has not missed a match since sitting out the 4-3 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on 4 March 2007 - an unbroken run of 47 games.

* McCartney is the only West Ham United player who has featured in every league and cup game to date, starting in each one.

* In terms of the Premier League, only Green has played every minute of the 32 matches.

* Carlton Cole, like Sean Davis, is one caution away from a two-match ban after picking up his ninth yellow card of the season at Sunderland. The 'one-match ban for five cautions' rule was for all yellow cards up to the end of February. However, a player receiving ten cautions before the end of the second Sunday in April will be suspended for two matches, starting seven days after the tenth offence.

* Only David James has started every top-flight game for Portsmouth this season, although he has not played every minute.

* Ashton, with eight goals, seven in the league, is the club's leading scorer. Since the departure of Benjani in the January transfer window, Defoe with eight goals in seven games since arriving from Tottenham Hotspur is Portsmouth's top marksman.

* The south-coast club boast three former Hammers in the shape of goalkeeper James, right-back Glen Johnson and striker Defoe. James made 102 league and cup appearances between 2001 and 2004 while both Johnson and Defoe came through United's Academy. Johnson played just 16 times in league and cup before being sold in summer 2003 while Defoe left the following February after 105 games and 41 goals in all competitions.

* Manager Harry Redknapp is also well known to Hammers fans, having served the club as a player between 1965 and 1972 and managed the team between 1994 and 2001.

* West Ham United will next be in action on Saturday at the Reebok Stadium home of Bolton Wanderers while Portsmouth will welcome Newcastle United to Fratton Park

Head to head (Last six league meetings)

27 October 2007 - Portsmouth 0-0 West Ham United
26 December 2006 - West Ham United 1-2 Portsmouth
14 October 2006 - Portsmouth 2-0 West Ham United
18 March 2006 - West Ham United 2-4 Portsmouth
26 December 2005 - Portsmouth 1-1 West Ham United
16 January 1993 - West Ham United 2-0 Portsmouth

All-time record versus Portsmouth: W 11 D 4 L 12

General information

Tickets: For latest information, click here. For details of getting to the Boleyn Ground, click here
Weather: The forecast is for rain and a chilly evening in east London. The temperature could fall to 1C.