Portsmouth match preview

Barclays Premier League
Portsmouth v West Ham United
Friday 26 December
Referee: Steve Bennett
WHUTV - Full audio commentary


* West Ham United head to Portsmouth on Boxing Day hoping to make if five games undefeated away from home. The Hammers have conceded just two goals in their last four games away from the Boleyn Ground, a fact made all more impressive as two of those fixtures were at Anfield and Stamford Bridge.

* However, their task will not be easy as the London side have not beaten the team from the south coast in seven attempts. In fact, the last time they tasted victory over Friday's hosts was 1993.

* Gianfranco Zola's side go into the game on the back of the narrow 1-0 defeat by Aston Villa last Saturday. Due to the compact nature of the Premier League table, though, despite there being seven places separating the two teams, an away win would leave the sides just one point apart.

* James Milner's cross deflected off Lucas Neill to give the Midlanders the win and deny the Hammers the point which would have moved them up to 14th in the table. That freak goal means the team sit in 17th position with 19 points, but knowing a win could move them up to joint eleventh. Portsmouth are tenth with 23 points and a victory for them could push them up to joint seventh.

* Zola had more positive injury news ahead of the busy Christmas schedule as he announced that Valon Behrami, Matthew Etherington, James Collins and Scott Parker could all be in contention for the Boxing Day game - while Kieron Dyer may return for the FA Cup tie with Barnsley on Saturday week.

* West Ham United manager Zola said: "It's down to us. We played against Liverpool away and Chelsea away, games which weren't easy for us, and we did well because of us. Against Portsmouth it depends on how we perform and if we can continue to perform as we have done then we're likely to get a good result."

* Portsmouth manager Tony Adams said: "It's about three points. Whether it's West Ham or Arsenal you try to win the football game. You can't section it off and say that's a win, that's a loss. It's try to take three points against West Ham and then look at the next one."

* West Ham are next in action two days after the Portsmouth fixture on Sunday 28 December when they play host to Stoke City. Pompey face the tricky task of Adams' return to Arsenal the same day.

* Of the last six fixtures between the teams, Portsmouth have won four with two draws, including the goalless game at the Boleyn Ground in last month. The last West Ham United win was a 2-0 triumph at home in the old first division in the 1992/93 season.

Last time out

Saturday 20 December
West Ham United 0-1 Aston Villa
West Ham United: Green, Neill, Davenport, Upson, Ilunga, Collison (Tristan 84), Noble, Parker (Mullins 46), Behrami (Bowyer 57), Bellamy, Cole
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Boa Morte, Faubert, Di Michele

Saturday 20 December
Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Portsmouth
James, Pamarot, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Diop (Nugent 75), Davis, Hughes (Diarra 63), Kranjcar, Defoe, Crouch
Subs not used: Ashdown, Little, Kanu, Armand Traore, Wilson
Goal: Crouch 20

Team news

* Behrami should be over the minor back problem he picked up in the game against Aston Villa, while the same could be said for Scott Parker who was taken off at half-time in that contest as a precaution - having suffered with a slight muscle problem earlier in the week.

* Etherington has recovered from the virus that has kept him out of late and Collins is back in contention after recovering from a calf injury but the Welsh international faces stiff competition to get his place back after Calum Davenport's recent fine form.

* Two more defenders in Jonathan Spector and Walter Lopez are also pushing hard after recent success with the reserves.

* Dyer also edges ever nearer to full fitness and could be fit enough to play a part against Barnsley in the FA Cup depending on his progress. Dean Ashton is also progressing well and is back running, although there is still no date set for his return.

* Craig Bellamy's one-match ban for five cautions, reached at Villa, will be served against Stoke City on Sunday. Parker is also one yellow away from a ban, having amassed four to date.

* Nigel Quashie, one of seven players out on loan, has extended his loan spell with Birmingham City. The other five out on loan are Jimmy Walker (Colchester United), Jordan Spence (Leyton Orient), James Tomkins (Derby County), Josh Payne (Colchester United), Kyel Reid (Blackpool) and Junior Stanislas (Southend United).

* Portsmouth have lost Lassana Diarra to Real Madrid, and have concerns over Glen Johnson, Younes Kaboul and John Utaka - all with minor knocks, although the first two did play in their last outing.


* The teams last met at the Boleyn Ground on 15 November this year. The home side nearly won the game when Craig Bellamy's free-kick clipped the top of the crossbar before going over, although Robert Green had to make several excellent saves in the second half to keep the scores level.

* The lineups were:

West Ham United: Green, Neill, Collins, Upson, Ilunga (Faubert 61), Behrami, Parker (Mullins 75), Collison, Sears (Etherington 46), Cole, Bellamy
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Davenport, Bowyer, Di Michele

Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Kaboul, Distin, Pamarot, Diop, Davis, Diarra (Armand Traore 19), Belhadj, Crouch (Kanu 75), Defoe
Subs not used: Ashdown, Hreidarsson, Nugent, Mvuemba, Hughes

* Portsmouth could name three former West Ham United players in their team. David James, Glen Johnson and Jermain Defoe all played for the London side in the 2003 season, when the club were relegated to the Championship.

Head to head (last six meetings, league unless stated)
15 November 2008 - West Ham United 0-0 Portsmouth
8 April 2008 - West Ham United 0-1 Portsmouth
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

Overall record v Portsmouth (all competitions): W 11, D 5, L 14

General information

For ticket information, click here . For details on getting to Fratton Park, click here.

Weather: The forecast is for a bright, chilly day with temperatures not expected to get above 5C.