COVENTRY CITY - SWANSEA CITY
Hosts have managed just one clean sheet in ten starts and a very poor record against the top six, losing all ten starts this season. Swansea are unbeaten in eight h2h starts against the Sky Blues and arrive in good form with seven goals in their last two matches, with a big promotion "six pointer" with Leeds at the weeeknd they will be desperate for maximum points tonight and with Coventry having a big derby game on saturday and little to play for in the league, at least subconsiously their priorities might be elsewhere.
confirmed : Beattie, Pratley and Britton return.
Swansea City: De Vries, Williams, Taylor, Tate (c), Pratley, Beattie, Dyer, Sinclair, Rangel, Gower, Britton
Subs: Ma-Kalambay (GK), Van Der Gun, Dobbie, Moore, Allen, Agustien, Richards
Coventry: Keiren Westwood (C); Richard Keogh, Stephen O'Halloran, David Bell, Marlon King, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Martin Cranie, Aron Gunnarsson, Carl Baker, Richard Wood, Nathan Cameron.
Subs: Daniel Ireland (GK), Sammy Clingan, Freddy Eastwood, Chris Hussey, Gary McSheffrey, Jordan Clarke, Roy O'Donovan
PORTSMOUTH - CRYSTAL PALACE
Palace's miserly record at Selhurst Park has served them well recently, it is well over 12 hours since they conceded a goal on home soil and those points earned have enabled them to climb out of the drop zone and open up a five point lead over Sheffield United and co. On the road things are very different, they do not have a clean sheet in 12 starts and only one in the league all season, collecting a Championship low total of six points from a possible 48. Palace fans are very optimistic at present and many are expected to make the shortish trip down to the south coast this evening, problem is they were only given 1400 tickets, which have been sold out and a number already have, or are, planning to buy tickets for the home section, with Pompey not always the friendliest of venues, this could get "interesting",of course, we are only concerened with on the pitch activities, but games are sometimes affected by these events. Hosts have won their last two without conceding and now have a nice cushion over the drop zone, they are looking to win three in a row for the first time since October, they had previously outplayed both Derby and leaders QPR for long sections of the game and have now played pretty consistently for four consecutive matches, the 1-0 win over Barnsley on saturday might appear a bit laboured, but they stopped the Yorkshire side from registering a shot on target.
Portsmouth have a poor first half record, collecting a Championship low 32 points before the break.
Jonathan Hogg returns for Pompey following suspension,Liam Lawrence misses out after limping off with a calf injury, in a direct swap.
Pompey: Ashdown; De Laet, Halford, Rocha, Hreidarsson; Ward, Mullins, Hogg, Cotterill; Kitson, Nugent
Subs: Flahavan, Dickinson, Mokoena, Kilbey, Ciftci
WATFORD - BRISTOL CITY
We saw two sides of Watford last week, they were pretty poor against Preston, when they defended too high and were very fortunate to claim a share of the spoils. They were much better at Reading over the weekend and the Royals had to rely on their keeper to keep them in the game on several occasions, having said that, they again allowed their opponents a lot of joy out wide and balls into the box.Hornets are a very young side and consistency is going to be a problem, however, they did show their potential at times on saturday, the first time in several outings and we already know that on a going day they can beat anyone at this level.City are the side that the bottom three will have their eyes on catching, they have won just once since NYD, that's 9 starts, conceding 16 goals, with their only victory coming against woeful Preston North End, they are six points clear of trouble at present, but have played more games than most of the teams around them and face some relegation rivals in the coming weeks. I have already aired my doubts about Keith Millen, who spent a decade at my beloved Brentford in central defence, as a head coach and I just get the feeling that it is going to be a long couple of months for supporters of the Robins. However, let's see how the first half unfolds.
First goal here might be key, with both solid when ahead at the half, (10-2-0) and ( 6-1-1 only 4 goals conceded) respectively.
confirmed : Nicky Maynard makes his first start of the season, left back McAllister misses out, always a key position.
I will send the usual update by email at half time, with a brief outline of what has happened so far and hopefully, one or two "in running" suggestions.