Chris Hughton's regular assessment of our forthcoming opponents - next up, Portsmouth at Fratton Park on New Year's Day.
THE PROGRESS of a team has to be a reflection of the players and some people underestimate what a good team Portsmouth have. Harry Redknapp has bought well, he’s brought in experienced players in David James and Sol Campbell, two players who would have been excited by a new challenge.
They normally line-up in a 4-4-2 with the two controlling players in Pedro Mendes and Sean Davis, both very comfortable on the ball. Pedro did well for us here but we couldn’t guarantee him regular games, same with Sean.
They’ve chopped and changed up front with Kanu doing ever so well and Benjani, who is full of running and has made a big contribution. Fernandez is a young player who featured at West Ham who has been on the fringes. Gary O’Neill is someone who can play anywhere across midfield. The back four is Glen Johnson, still on loan, Linvoy Primus, Campbell and Noe Pamarot, who we all know well.
Kanu has been a massive plus but you have to give him the opportunities and they’ve been able to do that. He’s in a team that’s playing well and creating chances. You can’t underestimate the contribution of a number of players like Matt Taylor, someone who has always been a good player and strikes a lovely ball, a naturally left-sided player. Primus has been one of their most consistent performers, always plays and can play left or right-back or centre-half.
Fratton Park is a tough place to go with a wonderful home crowd, one of the best in the league. But we're determined to bounce back from Saturday and we'll be after a positive result.