PREVIEW: PORTSMOUTH v DERBY
Posted on: Thu 17 Jan 2008
Derby County could have been coming up against a Portsmouth side rocked by the loss of manager Harry Redknapp on Saturday.
Redknapp, however, opted to remain at Fratton Park and will instead lead his side against the Rams.
For Portsmouth it's a chance to lift themselves closer to contention for a European place as Redknapp's revolution continues.
For Derby it's an opportunity to try and pick themselves up after the disappointment of last week's defeat to Wigan and the frustration of their FA Cup replay at Sheffield Wednesday going under in the rain.
Harry Redknapp told www.portsmouthfc.co.uk:
"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."
Pompey's Glen Johnson could be back in contention at Fratton Park after missing the defeat at Sunderland with a sore hamstring.
Sean Davis has been out of action for a month with a toe problem, while Matt Taylor's back ruled him out at the Stadium of Light.
Both have been undergoing treatment this week in a bid to boost their recoveries.
Sylvain Distin limped off late in the game but is confident of being available for the Fratton Park encounter.
Linvoy Primus remains on the sidelines with a long-term knee injury while John Utaka, Kanu, Sulley Muntari and Papa Bouba Diop are all away at the African Cup of Nations.
Derby defender Claude Davis is a definite absentee as he sits out a one-match suspension following his red card against Wigan.
No further team news is available at the time of writing.
Derby and Portsmouth haven't met in the top-flight since the 1987/88 season when Pompey, on their way to relegation, took four points from the Rams.
The last encounter at Fratton Park ended in a 6-2 win for the home side, back in February 2003.
An appearance for Laurent Robert - against one of his former clubs - will be his 200th in the English game.
Darren Moore is two starts short of 450 in the Football League and the Premier League.
And a start for Eddie Lewis would be his 200th in English league football.
Mike Dean took charge of Derby v Portsmouth on the opening day of the season - and now he's in charge of Portsmouth v Derby.
Dean has overseen 22 games this season and issued 89 yellow cards, with a further six dismissals