Date:Friday August 18 2006
Saturday 12th August 2006
The day we've all been waiting for has almost arrived as the 2006/2007 Premiership Season begins tomorrow. Rovers have the difficult task of taking on Harry Redknapp's Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
'We are missing influential players, Steven Reid picked up an injury on international duty so he must be a doubt at this stage.'
"It is going to be a big game, with lots of emotion on Saturday but hopefully we'll come away with the right result."
Portsmouth should themselves hand debuts to David James, Sol Campbell, Glen Johnson and latest recruit Kanu.
Missing for Portsmouth however will be injured quartet Lomana LuaLua, Benjani Mwaruwari, and goalkeepers Dean Kiely and Jamie Ashdown.
Portsmouth from - James, Johnson, Primus, Campbell, Pamarot, Stefanovic, O'Neil, Mendes, Davis, Taylor, Todorov, Kanu, Thompson, O'Brien, Hughes, Songo'o, Griffin, Jordan.
Competitive debuts will be handed to Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts, with fellow new signings Jason Brown and Francis Jeffers set for places in the Rovers dug out.
Ryan Nelsen will miss out against the side that have moved for him several during the summer through injury, as will Brett Emerton. Tugay begins a three match suspension following his red card on the final day of last season.
Rovers from - Friedel, Neill, Khizanishvili, Todd, Gray, Gallagher, Bentley, Savage, Gamst, McCarthy, Roberts, Enckelman, Brown, Mokoena, Matteo, McEveley, Douglas, Peter, Reid, Emerton, Kuqi, Jeffers.
Last seasons visit to Fratton Park saw Rovers come away with a point after a 2-2 draw, twice lading through Craig Bellamy goals.
Portsmouth have yet to beat Rovers in the Premiership at Fratton Park.
Rovers are unbeaten in the last four encounters with Portsmouth (three wins and one drawn in this period.) The last Premiership Portsmouth win came at Ewood Park in March 2004. Portsmouth winning 2-1.
Previous League Meetings
Portsmouth 21 wins, Blackburn 25, Draws 16
Premiership - Portsmouth 1 win, Blackburn 4, Draws 1
Previous League Meetings At Fratton Park
Portsmouth 15 wins, Blackburn 7, Draws 9
Premiership - Portsmouth 0 wins, Blackburn 2, Draws 1
Alan Wiley will take charge at Fratton Park. Wiley was the man also in charge of the opening Rovers game last season.
A tough visit to Fratton Park, a ground that Redknapp will be looking to return to a fortress so I think a draw will represent a good return.
Wednesday 23rd August versus Everton at Ewood Park, 19:45 kick-off.
Date:Friday August 18 2006
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