Well first the bad news. Sergeant Wilson is a likely absentee today after helping Honduras qualify for the World Cup Finals on Thursday. However, he carries possibly the best no-show excuse in the history of the game, as he is returning late on account of having been ordered to stay behind and party, by the country’s ruling military junta. Apparently this cheery lot are also responsible for kicking the President out of the country while he was still in his pyjamas, so when they you tell you to party you ruddy well crack open a beer and fondle a stripper.Apparently Palacios was only due to make it back to England this morning. When he turned up jet-lagged for the Man Utd game last month he ambled around in auto-pilot, picked up an early booking and was taken off at half-time, so he’s unlikely to feature today.
The Worst-Case Scenario Materialises. But It Should Be Ok This Time.
Jenas has generally received positive reviews for his performances so far this season, notably against Burnley. Now as seasoned followers of this corner of the interweb will know, there is more chance of Hell freezing over than of AANP merrily awarding him gold stars, but certainly by his standards he’s started well this campaign. (There’s the rub, mind – he’s playing well by his standards, and Jermaine Jenas’ standards are Premiership-level, rather than Champions League or international quality… Sorry – I won’t get bogged down in this one again.) He’s generally kept things ticking over in midfield and retained possession sensibly enough, although his safety-first approach of backwards/sideways still grates, and I maintain that he still does not show the energy one would expect from a quality central midfielder. However, at the moment he is playing at a level good enough to see us through most regular Premiership fixtures, and while it may be insufficient against the top four, if he maintains that form he should help see us through today’s game.
Woodgate won’t return today, despite his recovery from injury, but blessed relief we have our Ledley back. For this alone I back us to win. His return carries the added bonus of allowing the Hudd to move back into midfield, in timely fashion too given Sergeant Wilson’s likely absence.
Mercifully, somebody somewhere made sure that young Three-Touch O’Hara is ineligible for this one, so no need to worry there, and apparently the curiously-shaped ex-Spur Michael Brown is also in Pompey’s ranks these days. However, if anyone should worry about the return of former employees it ought to be the Pompey back-line, faced by a red-hot Defoe and Crouch, even if the latter is by no means guaranteed to start.
Pompey are propping up the table, although by all accounts they are playing far better than their position suggests. Nevertheless, excuses won’t be tolerated today dagnabbit – if we are serious about a top-six finish (and a quick, albeit unscientific poll reveals that we are) then nothing less than three points is acceptable today, particularly as AANP has global bragging rights at stake with its New Zealand-dwelling Pompey supporting chum. Scoring goals is no problem, and with Ledley back I fancy us to be fairly secure at the back.
Chris Waddle is the latest player to be featured in the forthcoming book Spurs’ Cult Heroes, and you are invited to share your memories of him here. As ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the other featured players: Cliff Jones here, Glenn Hoddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jurgen Klinsmann here