Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Saturday January 19 2008
Pompey v Rams - Preview
Portsmouth v Derby County
Saturday 19th January 2008, 3:00 pm
The Rams head to the South Coast to take Harry Redknapp`s Portsmouth in another vital game if the Rams are to close the gap on the rest of the league.
The Rams away record is poor losing nine on the road and the only points coming from draws at Fulham and Newcastle United.
Rams boss Paul Jewell is looking forward to the trip and believes Redknapp has none a marvellous job at Portsmouth. He said: 'It is a club that has terrific support and is in a huge area so it can attract a lot of people.
'They have an old-fashioned ground that works in their favour because it is on top of you, and they use it to their advantage.
'What Harry has done there is nothing short of amazing. Certainly the players and supporters down there will be delighted he has committed his future to Portsmouth.'
The Rams boss also gave a warning to his players ahead of the trip that they are playing for their Pride Park futures between now and the end of the season.
He said: 'The players care. As at most clubs, if teams go down their players' wages drastically go down - that's part of the deal.
'So they are playing to say to me 'next year, if we are in the Championship I'm good enough to be part of the group to take this team somewhere near the top of the league'.
'If they don't show me that before the end of the season, I'll look to move them on. There's nothing set in stone, it's up to them.
'It's up to them to say 'yes, I'm quite prepared to buy into what you're doing here' or 'to be fair, it's not for me'.
'Maybe some players might find it difficult, a bit too hard what we're asking them to do, but we'll find out and we're finding out as we go along.'
Pompey are coming off a 0-2 loss against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, where Kieran Richardson scored twice to earn a vital win in their fight against relegation.
Pompey haven`t the best home record this season only winning two games out of 10 at Fratton Park, losing two and drawing the other six.
It`s Pompey`s first home game in 2008 their last game was a 0-1 loss against Middlesbrough on December 29th and Redknapp - who turned his back on the Newcastle United job last week - will hope for a big improvement from his chargers this week. He reflected on his decision to stay at Pompey and hopes it bring a bit of stability to the club. He said: 'I'm happy concentrating on my job here.
'I know it was the right decision to stay and when I look at us I believe I'm close, especially when the Africans get back, to having a top squad.
'In an ideal world I'll try to bring in one more striker before the end of January but it's looking good again.'
Redknapp also spoke to the Pompey official web site about the game on Saturday. He said: "I think it will be a difficult game, they've got some good players and won't be easy opposition.
'Paul Jewell's brought a few new guys in, players like Robbie Savage and Danny Mills who will always have a go.
'But we'll give it our best shot, that's for sure. They need a miracle in all honesty, they're well adrift.
'But you never know, you win a couple of games, the gap closes and suddenly you're back within touching distance again.
'We were dead and buried a few years ago and got out of it, so it can happen.'
In team news the Rams will be without full-back Tyrone Mears, who is expected to be sidelined for 12 weeks with a shin problem.
Still on the injured list is Stephen Bywater (shoulder) and David Jones (hernia), Jay McEveley (knee) and Dean Leacock.
Also missing is Claude Davis who is serving a one-match ban following his red card in last Saturday's defeat by Wigan.
On the positive side Scots pair Kenny Miller and Stephen Pearson are back in training and could feature.
Portsmouth are set to give new signing Lassana Diarra his debut in midfield, the Frenchman joined from Arsenal this week for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £5.5M.
Right-back Glen Johnson is expected to start following a hamstring strain, replacing Noe Pamarot, while Sean Davis could also return from a foot injury.
Portsmouth (from): James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Diarra, Mendes, Kranjcar, Davis, Hughes, Lauren, Mwaruwari, Nugent, Pamarot, Mvuemba, Traore, Wilson, Begovic.
Derby (from): Price, Mills, Todd, Johnson, Barnes, Moore, Teale, Savage, Pearson, Lewis, Miller, Robert, Ghaly, Fagan, Hinchliffe, Earnshaw, Edworthy, Macken, Villa, Nyatanga.
Referee - Mike Dean
Date:Saturday January 19 2008
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